In a new lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone, a woman has accused Jermaine Jackson of sexual assault in 1988,
Filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday (12.27,) Rita Barrett, the plaintiff, alleges that Jackson – a founding member of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson’s older brother, – showed up, unannounced, to her home and assaulted in the late-1980s. Barrett claims that she met the entertainer through her job as a music contractor and through Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who she met through her husband, Ben Barrett.
Jackson, his companies Jermaine L. Jackson Music Productions and Work Records, were all listed and the causes of action are sexual assault, battery, sexual battery, and negligence, stating “Defendant Jackson forced himself into Plaintiff’s home, and with force and violence sexually assaulted Plaintiff.” “During the assault, Plaintiff, a woman of faith prayed to God for help. During the assault, Plaintiff feared for her life. After the assault and when Defendant Jackson was satiated, he left the residence.”
In a statement by Barrett’s attorney to Rolling Stone, Jeff Anderson said “Rita Barrett suffered an egregious and violent sexual assault.”“This is about her power and the declaration of it when she learned something could be done under the law, and she found the strength and support to find us and is now standing up for herself and others.”
While Gordy himself was not named as a defendant, the suit claims that legendary music mogul protected Jackson for financial interests. Rita alleges that the day following the assault, due to his relationship with both her and the Jackson family, she reported the incident to the Motown executive, stating that Gordy “was uniquely situated to both report Defendant Jackson’s acts and to aid plaintiff during her time of trauma.” “Instead,” the suit alleges, “Mr. Gordy withheld and concealed the acts, further perpetuating the coverup and allowing Mr. Gordy, Defendant Jackson, and others in the business relationship to continue to reap profits derived from Mr. Jackson’s work and reputation for years to come.”
Like New York’s recently closed Adult Survivors Act, lawsuit against the famous singer was filed through California’s AB2777, which, temporarily waives the statute of limitations on some civil claims related to sexual misconduct. Such statutes have led to a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits across the music and entertainment industries, with actors, artists, and executives, including Vin Diesel,Sean “Diddy” Combs, Axl Rose, and L.A. Reid, among several others, all facing allegations from suits filed in the past several months.
At press time, a representative for Jermaine Jackson was unavailable for comment and a representative for Berry Gordy did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.