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Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane Sued for Sexual Assault 

A woman is suing Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane for sexual assault, four months after the punk-rock group disbanded in the wake of multiple women coming forward to accuse the frontman of predatory behavior, sexual assault and statutory rape, according to a lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone

Kristina Sarhadi, a New York holistic therapist and health coach, filed the lawsuit against Sane, whose legal name is Justin Geever, on Wednesday in New York. She is also suing the band’s distribution company — which bandmates Patrick Bollinger, a.k.a. Pat Thetic, Chris Head, and Chris Barker (aka Chris No. 2) are registered members — for an unspecified amount.

“Justin Geever used his platform as a celebrated, self-proclaimed ‘punk rock star’ to groom and lure vulnerable girls into feeling safe in his presence,” Sarhadi says in a statement. “While he sang about protecting women and standing up to abusers, it appears he was hiding an addiction to power and control, harming countless women who have been unable to speak up before now. Today I hope to encourage his survivors, and survivors of other predators in the music industry, to feel hope again.”

A representative for the band did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Initial attempts to reach Geever for comment were unsuccessful.

Sarhadi came forward about her experience with Geever on the Enough podcast in July, detailing a harrowing October 2010 encounter with an unnamed activist punk singer who allegedly sexually assaulted her when she was 22. (Although Sarhadi did not name Geever, fans quickly guessed who she was referring to. She later confirmed Geever was the singer.) “It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced,” Sarhadi said. “I can’t stress how violent he was and how much I fully believed I was going to die, that he was going to kill me.” 

After attending a party together, Sarhadi claims that Geever invited her to his motel room under the guise of listening to an unreleased song. Once in the room, Geever allegedly began restraining and strangling, and forced Sarhadi to perform oral sex on him, according to the suit. “When she could breathe, she repeatedly pleaded with him to stop,” the lawsuit alleges. “She was shocked and crying. He was mean and violent with Plaintiff; she did not matter and was just an object for him to dominate.” Sarhadi alleges she was only able to escape once Geever “passed out” on top of her.

Sarhadi’s lawsuit mirrors the allegations that she first shared on the podcast. Hours after the episode aired, Anti-Flag abruptly deleted its social media pages and announced it was disbanding after 35 years with no further explanation. Geever later denied Sarhadi’s claim, saying he had “never engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual.” Bollinger, Barker and Head said in a statement that while the band’s “core tenet” was “to listen to and believe all survivors,” they had never seen Geever act violently or aggressively towards women.

But in September, Rolling Stone published an investigation where 12 more women accused Geever of predatory behavior, sexual assault and statutory rape across the United States and Europe, dating back to the 1990s and as recently as 2020. Many described themselves as Anti-Flag fans who shaped their social and political beliefs around Geever and the band’s messaging, only for Geever to allegedly exploit his position for his own sexual gratification. 

One woman was as young as 12 when she claims Geever pushed her into having anal sex when he was 17, and three women claim Geever violently sexually assaulted them. “He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Jenn, who met Geever as a 16-year-old in 1997, said. “He played the part of lifting women up, but at the same time, he was holding them down, literally.”

The other band members were criticized by some of the women, including three who say Geever brought them backstage and on the band’s tour bus as teens and young women. “They knew how young everybody was,” Rebecca, who dated a then-25-year-old Geever as a 17-year-old in the late 1990s, claimed. “There was a clear boundary that he kept crossing over and over that should have raised flags for everybody.”

The lawsuit claims Hardwork Distribution, which include Bollinger, Barker and Head, “should have known” about Geever’s alleged conduct and “had a duty of reasonable care to enact policies and procedures to protect fans.”

“The decision to file a lawsuit takes great courage and is often not possible for so many survivors of sexual assault,” says Sarhadi’s attorney, Karen Barth Menzies. “Accountability is only attainable when survivors stand up for themselves and each other.”

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Sarhadi’s lawsuit was filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act — a 2022 act that opened up a one-year window for victims of sexual offenses to file a civil suit against their abuser regardless of statute of limitations. The window closes on Thursday and several lawsuits naming high-profile figures, including Diddy, Russell Brand, Axl Rose and Bill Cosby, have been filed in the act’s last days.

Previously, Sarhadi told Rolling Stone that she was hesitant to come forward against Geever because he was a fierce and public advocate for feminism and protecting women. It took until seeing an anonymous Tumblr post from a woman who also hinted at having a violent encounter with Geever to push forward with telling her story. “I truly believed his persona, and what [the band] were always consistently, persistently singing and talking about,” Sarhadi said. “I didn’t want to be the one to take that away from anyone else.” 

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