Renowned rock and roll sideman G.E. Smith is defending Bob Dylan over sexual molestation allegations made against him in a lawsuit filed last week.
Smith served as Dylan's lead guitarist and musical director for four years from the late-'80s into the early-'90s. He tells Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein that through all the time he spent at Dylan's side, he never observed anything to indicate Dylan was capable of committing the crimes of which he's accused.
"I was around Bob for four years. He reveres children," Smith told the show, after bringing up the case. "This [allegation], I don't believe. A lot of the ones that we hear, you believe it right away. The women are right; you can tell that they're right. This one, I ain't buying. Sorry, an aside."
The complaint against Dylan accuses him of grooming and then sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in New York City multiple times over a period of weeks from April through June in 1965. Dylan's accuser says the assaults occurred at the famed Chelsea Hotel.
But Smith isn't the only Dylan associate to question the claims in the lawsuit, and Dylan may have multiple alibis to boot.
A friend of Dylan's who reportedly knew him in the mid-'60s told Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman this week that Dylan hardly spent any time at all in New York in the spring of '65. Dylan was reportedly on tour on the west coast for most of April of that year. He then toured England between April 26, 1965, and June 2, 1965. Numerous recordings exist from the English tour.
"I'm not saying I knew him greatly or anything, but I was around the guy out on the road," Smith added. "If he had those kind of proclivities, I would have seen it. He does not."
As mercurial as Dylan can be to the public, Smith is convinced that there would have been signs privately if he was an abuser of children. He observed Dylan in all kinds of different environments, he says.
"He loves kids," Smith continued. "He treated his own kids great — any kids that were ever around. When somebody's like that, you see it if you're around them for years. He wasn't like that. He ain't like that."
You can watch the full conversation with G.E. Smith via the video player above.
When news of the lawsuit broke this week, Dylan's lawyer told New York Post that the "56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended."
Dylan is accused of assault, battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress. The accuser, identified in the lawsuit as J.C., is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.
A music icon, Dylan is a Nobel Prize-winning poet, a Kennedy Center Honoree and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. He's also a winner of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and 10 Grammys.
The suit was filed a day before the closure of the New York Child Victims Act look-back window, which allowed victims of childhood abuse to file suit against their attackers and the institutions that protected their attackers, regardless of how old the claims were.