Elton John faces sexual harassment lawsuit

LOS ANGELES •Elton John on Tuesday dismissed as "patently untrue" claims made by a former bodyguard who said he was repeatedly groped and sexually harassed by the singer.

His lawyer Orin Snyder said the accusations by decorated police officer Jeffrey Wenninger were "baseless" and brought by a "disgruntled former security officer seeking to extract an undeserved payment".

"These claims are patently untrue and contradicted by numerous previous statements made by this plaintiff. We will not give in to his latest abuse of the legal system."

Mr Wenninger claims the pop icon groped him during a series of attacks that escalated "in frequency and intensity" from 2010, according to a lawsuit filed last Monday at the Los Angeles Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, he describes three alleged sex assaults during car journeys to or from John's Los Angeles home in 2014.

Mr Wenninger is seeking unspecified damages for "battery, sexual battery and sexual harassment", according to the lawsuit.

John's latest record, Wonderful Crazy Night, came out last month. After well-publicised struggles with addiction and eating disorders, he became the father of two sons and, in 2014, married his long-time partner David Furnish after Britain legalised gay marriage.

He said in a recent interview he had found "an uplifting tail-end to my life" and had "never been happier".

"I never, ever expected to find fatherhood so joyous. I expected to enjoy it, but not to be so joyous," he told Britain's Press Association.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Elton John faces sexual harassment lawsuit'. Print Edition | Subscribe