The former assistant who says she suffered “horrific” sexual, physical, and psychological abuse at the hands of Marilyn Manson is gearing up to fight the rocker’s latest attempt to have her lawsuit kicked out of court, her lawyer tells Rolling Stone.
In a statement Friday, lawyer James Vagnini said his client Ashley Walters isn’t backing down after Manson filed his third demurrer to her claims on Tuesday.
In his latest challenge, Manson argues Walters is hoping her “creative writing skills,” not facts, will help her “revive her expired claims.” The musician born Brian Warner says Walters’ allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery dating back to 2010 and 2011 are all time-barred by the same two-year statute of limitations.
Whereas Walters asserts she qualifies for the delayed discovery rule that allows some plaintiffs to start the clock on their statute of limitations when they first fully comprehend their injury or loss, Warner argues Walters’ descriptions of feeling fear around him and locking herself in a room prove she “understood” his alleged conduct was wrong as soon as it purportedly happened.
“Plaintiff contradictorily claims that throughout her employment she was cognizant of a need to hide from her employer, while simultaneously arguing that she did not know that her employer was committing arguably actionable acts towards her,” Warner’s new demurrer filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court states.
Meanwhile, Vagnini tells Rolling Stone, “[We] believe our amended complaint specifically addresses the court’s concerns and establishes that Ms. Walters suffered such severe harm while working for Mr. Warner that she repressed the vast majority of abuse she was subjected to, and that the nature of the abuse should strip [Warner] of any statute of limitations defense. Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to work to expose Mr. Warner for exactly who he is, a narcissistic predator and pathological violator.”
A hearing on the matter has been set for next month.
In her paperwork, Walters claims she didn’t “discover” her injuries until October 2020, when she met with a group of Warner’s former girlfriends that included Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood and Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco. It was after joining this support group and entering therapy that Walters was able to “fully understand” that Warner’s alleged actions caused her “near-immediate repression” of the alleged abuse, she says.
Walters and Bianco are now among the four women suing Warner in California. They’re also in the group of more than a dozen women who claim Warner abused them under the cover of his celebrated living-demon Marilyn Manson persona. Warner has denied any wrongdoing and even went on the offensive with Wood last month, suing her for defamation.
When she first stepped forward last year, Walters claimed Warner started abusing her on the night they first met for a photo shoot in May 2010. She said after the shoot ended and without her consent, Warner pushed her onto his bed, pinned her down, bit her ear and forced her hand into his underwear. She says she moved away and left, “feeling confusion and fear.”
She said Warner “bombarded” her with text messages, praise, and an offer to double her pay if she agreed to come work for him as an assistant. Over the next year, she was subjected to Warner’s “drug-induced fits of rage,” in which he “threw dishes at Walters, threatened to commit suicide, and even pushed her into a wall,” her lawsuit states.
Walters claims that one day in December 2010, she witnessed Warner throw a prop skull so hard at Wood that it left a large raised welt on the actress’ stomach. On another occasion, Warner forced Walters to stand for 12 hours straight on a chair without moving while taking pictures of him and fed her cocaine to keep her awake, she alleges.
Warner filed his first demurrer challenging her lawsuit in October, saying Walters’ claims were too old for a civil court judge to even entertain.
Walters responded by filing a first amended complaint three weeks later, further explaining why she should qualify for delayed discovery and adding two news claims of battery and assault. Her new filing said Warner threw hatchets into a wall when he was angry and “physically whipped her and others in her presence while joking they could ‘take it.’”
Warner filed a second demurrer in December, and after a hearing in January, a judge agreed in February that Walters’ claims, as written, were outside the two-year statute of limitations. The judge gave her a chance to file again, and her second amended complaint was submitted last month. Again, it further expanded on Walters’ claim that she buried her memories of the abuse because they were so traumatizing.
“Plaintiff was unable to recall many of the physical and emotional abuses until the Fall of 2020 when countless repressed memories flooded back to Plaintiff after meeting numerous other victims of Defendants and obtaining counseling from a mental health professional,” the second amended complaint read.