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Conor Oberst Considering Libel Lawsuit Over Decade-Old Rape Allegation

January 7, 2014  |  3:45pm
Conor Oberst Considering Libel Lawsuit Over Decade-Old Rape Allegation

It’s never easy finding exactly the right tone for a story like this—and it’s probably best to state up-front that the following accusations against Conor Oberst come from an anonymous web poster. Knowing how many similar cases usually progress, especially when a significant amount time has passed, we may never have a definite conclusion.

However, allegations of sexual assault did surface on xojane.com in the comment section of this article, and they’ve made enough of an impact that Conor Oberst’s publicists have been compelled to publicly respond. The post, which details a woman’s abusive relationship with a different rock star, spawned a comment from a woman who wrote she had been raped a decade ago—at age 16—by Oberst. She alleged that his older brother, her high school English teacher and a mentor who helped her through “awful times”, had introduced the two as a “birthday present of sorts.” The comments have since been deleted, but are preserved on tumblr here. In the second comment, she named Oberst:

“I am not the author but as I said in a previous comment, I was raped by a “rock star” when I was 16 years old and he was in his 20s. My husband suggests I may feel some empowerment by outing my rapist. It was Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.”

The accuser then started a blog offering more details and answering questions, but that site, too, has since been deleted.

Earlier today, Oberst’s publicist released a statement to AbsolutePunk and other outlets flatly denying the accusations. The statement reads, in full:

“Usually we wouldn’t feel the urge to comment on spurious blog chatter but the recent allegations made about Conor Oberst by an anonymous commenter on the xoJane website are flagrant enough to demand our response. This individual’s accusations are absolutely, unequivocally false. Unfortunately, the internet allows for groundless statements like this to travel the world before the truth has any time to surface. This is a particularly serious and sickening allegation and there is no truth to it. Conor has nothing but abhorrence for the perpetrators of such crimes of sexual violence. The behavior attributed to him by this individual is in direct opposition to his principles. Conor is consulting with a libel attorney regarding this matter.”

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