Rick James’ legacy is many things. On one end, it includes a successful and far-reaching career, as a Grammy Award-winning artist and icon, and on the other of the spectrum he dealt with a long-battled drug addiction, which included a 1984 overdose and a 1991 charge of holding a woman hostage and abusing her for nearly a week.

Fifteen years later, Rick James is still making headlines. Now, for being posthumously sued for the rape of a 15-year-old girl in 1979. 

According to the Associated Press, the unidentified plaintiff says James raped her while she was staying at a group home in Buffalo, New York in 1979. The victim in the alleged crime is seeking $50 million in damages, citing years of “physical, psychological, and emotional injury,” according to the affidavit. 

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“He grabbed my hair and pushed my head into the pillow,” the victim said in the affidavit. “I tried to fight him off, but he told me to ‘shut up and quit moving or I’ll cut you.’” James then threatened the victim into silence, according to the affidavit, telling her he “would know where to find” her if she told anyone. 

A representative of James’ trust didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Buffalo News.

The lawsuit was filed under the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in 2019 and extends the statute of limitations on child abuse.

James, who is a native of Buffalo, was also convicted in 1993 of assaulting two women. The first case occurred in 1991, when prosecutors said James and his girlfriend tied a woman to a chair, burned her with a hot crack pipe and forced her to perform sex acts during a cocaine binge at his West Hollywood home. He was free on bail when the second assault occurred in 1992 inside James’ hotel room. He served more than two years in prison. 

Through the end of his life, drugs took a toll on his life. James was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Aug. 6, 2004 after suffering from a heart attack due to an enlarged heart. An autopsy showed he died with with numerous drugs in his system, including methamphetamine and cocaine contributing factors.


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