Tommy Lee Wins Ruling in Lawsuit Alleging 2003 Helicopter Sexual Assault

A Los Angeles judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee of sexually assaulting a woman in a helicopter in 2003, ruling that her case was filed too late.

The case against Lee, launched last year by an anonymous Jane Doe accuser, was filed under a newly enacted California law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for years-old sexual assaults – one of several such laws passed around the country in recent years.


But in a decision issued Monday, Judge Holly J. Fujie ruled that Lee’s accuser had failed to show that Lee’s alleged assault had been followed by any kind of “cover-up” – a key requirement under the provision she cited.

“The court finds that plaintiff has not pled facts sufficient to support the theory of the necessary ‘cover up’ because plaintiff has not asserted facts evidencing defendants’ concerted effort to hide evidence relating to sexual assault,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiff instead makes vague allegations that the court finds insufficient to support the revival of a claim.”

Though the ruling is a setback for Lee’s accuser, the case is not yet over. The judge gave her and her attorneys 20 days to file an updated version of her complaint if she has additional information that would fix the flaws in her case. Her attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment.

In her December complaint, the Jane Doe plaintiff claimed she had been “lured under false pretenses” by Lee’s personal helicopter pilot into taking a ride from San Diego to Los Angeles in February 2003. Once onboard, she claimed that Lee and the pilot “consumed several alcoholic beverages, smoked marijuana, and snorted cocaine” before the rock star assaulted her.

“Tommy Lee then proceeded to sexually assault plaintiff by forcibly groping, kissing, penetrating her with his fingers, and attempting to force her to perform oral copulation,” her lawyers wrote. “As a result of Tommy Lee’s sexual assault, Plaintiff has suffered severe emotional, physical, and psychological distress.”


The case, over an incident that allegedly occurred more than two decades ago, was filed under the Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act – a California law that created a three-year window starting last year for alleged survivors to file sexual assault lawsuits that would normally be barred by the statute of limitations.

The case against Lee was one of many cases filed during the “look-back windows” created by similar statutes, including New York’s Adult Survivors Act. Just before that law expired in November, a flood of years-old abuse cases hit the courts, most notably against Sean “Diddy” Combs.

But such laws have strict requirements. In the case of the Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, an alleged victim must show that the defendant “engaged in a cover up or attempted a cover up,” meaning a “concerted effort to hide evidence relating to a sexual assault or other inappropriate conduct” or conduct that “incentivizes individuals to remain silent.”

In her complaint, Lee’s accuser claimed that the drummer and other defendants “engaged in a concerted effort to prevent information or evidence of such sexual assaults from being made public or disclosed to anyone.” But in her ruling on Monday, Judge Fujie said that simply spelling out the statute’s requirement was not enough.


“These allegations are conclusory in nature and do not allege specific actions directed to plaintiff,” the judge wrote. “As such, plaintiff’s action as alleged is effectively time-barred.”

In a statement to Billboard, Lee’s attorney Sasha Frid said: “We applaud the court’s decision. The court got it right in finding that the plaintiff cannot assert a claim against Tommy Lee. From the outset, Mr. Lee has vehemently denied these false and bogus accusations.” 

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