An attorney for rock star Gordon Sumner, aka Sting, says his client denies allegations contained in a federal lawsuit filed last week that he raped a 15-year-old girl in an Arizona hotel 41 years ago while touring with The Police and “a thorough and open inquiry into this matter” is welcomed.
“Sting has extraordinary compassion and support for any survivor of sexual assault who speaks out, but he categorically denies that this happened,” attorney John Rosenberg stated Nov. 19, the day after the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. “The first any of us heard about these allegations -from 1979- was when we saw a press release issued by a law firm yesterday. Should this case proceed, we intend to vigorously defend it.”
Rosenberg also noted his client had not yet been formally served with the civil complaint and “does not know who this person is.”
The 16-page lawsuit alleges Sumner and the teen met May 14, 1979 at a fan meet-and-greet event in the Phoenix area and then met later in the same day at the concert venue in Tempe shortly before The Police took the stage. The woman claims Sumner took her to an after party and then to his hotel room where he allegedly raped her despite knowing her age and that she was virgin.
“Because of this, I have suffered lifelong emotional, mental, and psychological damage,” she is quoted in a statement released by her attorneys. “I have decided to file this case under the pseudonym Jane Doe because I do not wish to draw attention to myself and I believe this lawsuit is bigger than me.”
The lawsuit seeks a judgment from a jury for general damages of more than $75,000 against Sumner, the band, and its then-talent agency Frontier Booking International for sexual assault, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. The woman is also asking for punitive damages in an amount set by the jury.
Just days before the lawsuit was filed, a notice was posted on Sting’s official website that the release of his latest album “Duets” is being delayed. The Nov. 9 notice cited “unforeseen pandemic-related manufacturing delays” as the reason the album planned for release at the end of November will now not be available until March.
The Police were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 after winning five Grammy Awards. Sumner has received another dozen Grammy Awards for his songwriting and solo performances.