US rockers halt tour after sex abuse claims

NEW YORK • She was 15 and the rocker was 24. They kept in touch and he later asked her for nude photographs.

Her account of what allegedly happened led to American alternative rockers Brand New on Monday halting concerts following outrage over what lead singer Jesse Lacey had purportedly done.

Lacey, 39, apologised and acknowledged he had "hurt people, mistreated them, lied and cheated" due to a sex addiction - but said he has changed after starting his own family.

Brand New - whose latest album, Science Fiction, hit No. 1 in the United States - announced it was postponing shows planned in Britain and Ireland from this week.

The band from New York's Long Island recently completed a US tour.

The band Martha, which had been scheduled as Brand New's opening act, pulled out of upcoming shows, as did Brand New's touring guitarist Kevin Devine.

The woman named Nicole Garey said over the weekend that Lacey first approached her in 2002 when she was 15. He had spotted her taking pictures at a concert in Buffalo, New York.

She wrote on Facebook that the two exchanged messages and Lacey eventually asked her for nude pictures and pressured her to masturbate for him over Skype.

"It (messed) me up to the point that I still have nightmares and wake up in a sweat. I still break down and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar," she wrote.

She separately told rock magazine Alternative Press that although she was initially flattered by the attention from a rock musician, she found him "underhanded and manipulative" and had to seek therapy to deal with what she had experienced.

Lacey sought forgiveness, saying he had abused his status as a rock singer. "I do not stand in defence of myself nor do I forgive myself," he wrote in a statement.

"I was selfish, narcissistic and insensitive in my past, and there are a number of people who have had to shoulder the burden of my failures," he said.

"I apologise for the hurt I have caused, and hope to be able to take the correct actions to earn forgiveness and trust."

Brand New, which Lacey had earlier said would disband following their latest album and tour, were part of a more mainstream wave in the 2000s of emo - a rock style rooted in punk, but known for raw emotional introspection.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'US rockers halt tour after sex abuse claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe