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Marilyn Manson’s Ex-Assistant Wins Appeal, Can Sue for ‘Horrific’ Sexual Harassment and Assault 

The former assistant who claims Marilyn Manson sexually assaulted her, whipped her and threw her against a wall during a drug-induced rage won a critical appeal ruling Wednesday that revives her previously dismissed lawsuit against the shock rocker.

Ashley Walters initially sued Manson, whose legal name is Brian Warner, with claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination in May 2021. She argued that while the alleged abuse took place during a “horrific” year of employment that ended in 2011, the typical two-year statute of limitations didn’t apply because she had suppressed her memories until 2020. She said the “delayed discovery” rule, which postpones the starting clock for statutes of limitations in cases where victims bury painful memories, had extended her window to file. She further alleged Warner used threatening behavior to ensure her silence.

A trial court judge considered her argument but ultimately tossed her case in May 2022, ruling she “failed to plead facts to invoke the delayed discovery rule.” Walters appealed, and a tribunal with California’s Second Appellate District sided with her Wednesday, reversing the lower court ruling and sending the case back to the judge for trial.

“Walters’s allegations of delayed discovery were sufficient to withstand demurrer, and we reverse,” the judges wrote in their ruling. They noted that while Warner’s defense team argued her allegations were “too memorable and happened too many times for her to have remembered none of it,” the court wasn’t supposed to concern itself with her ability to prove her claims at this stage of her case, only that she asserted them properly.

“This is a great victory for all survivors as it provides a clear path for issues of repressed memories and delayed discovery in these types of cases. I think the court is very firm in articulating a very clear decision as to why survivors have repressed memories and why that should be relevant when they come forward later in life to bring those claims,” Walters’s lawyer, James Vagnini, tells Rolling Stone. He noted that Warner’s camp also was ordered to pay the appellate costs as well. “We think that sends a message,” he says. Warner’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In court filings, Walters alleged Warner forced her hand into his underwear, whipped her, threw dishes at her, pushed her into a wall, broke down doors to get to her, charged at her and forced her to stay awake for 48 hours straight, one time requiring her to stand on a chair for 12 hours.

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Warner, 54, has denied Walters’ allegations and similar claims of abuse from more than a dozen women. In September, he reached a private settlement with a Jane Doe accuser who alleged he brutally raped her in 2011. Doe further claimed Warner deprived her of food and sleep during their abusive dating relationship and that he threatened to “bash her head in” if she reported him. That deal followed after Warner reached a separate settlement with Game of Thrones star Esmé Bianco in January. Bianco had alleged Warner raped and battered her.

Former accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline let her lawsuit end in default in January and formally recanted her allegations against Warner. A second Jane Doe sued Warner in January for sexual assault.

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