Sean “Diddy” Combs has been hit with a new lawsuit by a woman who alleges the music mogul drugged her, sexually assaulted her and recorded the assault without her knowledge when she was a college student in 1991.
The suit was filed in the New York Supreme Court on Thursday, one day before the expiration of the New York Adult Survivors Act, which allows adult sexual assault survivors one year to sue regardless of when the original statute of limitations expired.
It’s also the third suit in the last week filed against Combs or one of his companies that alleges sexual abuse by him or someone associated with him.
The suit centers on an alleged interaction between Combs and Joie Dickerson-Neal on Jan. 3, 1991, when she was a student at Syracuse University studying psychology.
A spokesperson for Combs denied the allegations.
Dickerson-Neal said in the filing that she went to dinner “reluctantly” with Combs at a restaurant in Harlem in New York City and accompanied him as he ran errands. At the time, she was on winter break from school, according to the suit.
The complaint alleges Combs “intentionally drugged” Dickerson-Neal, leaving her unable to stand or walk. The suit said she left her drink unattended with him at the restaurant and afterward, under alleged pressure from Combs, she took a hit of a blunt.
They then drove to a music studio, the suit stated. When Dickerson-Neal couldn’t exit the car, Combs allegedly took her to a place he was staying to sexually assault her, according to the filing.
The suit said Dickerson-Neal recalled feeling “humiliated and hurt, yet she could not escape the assault,” and because she had been allegedly drugged, she said she “lacked the physical ability or mental capacity to fend Combs off.”
The complaint, which also alleges Dickerson-Neal was the victim of “revenge porn,” accuses Combs of recording the alleged sexual assault.
Popular ’90s singer allegedly saw recording of assault
Days later, a male friend named DeVanté Swing, a member of the popular ’90s R&B group Jodeci, revealed to the woman that he viewed a “sex tape” along with other people, according to the suit. Dickerson-Neal said Swing feared his band would lose its record deal if he spoke against Combs. NBC News reached out to a representative for Swing for comment, but did not hear back.
Dickerson-Neal’s life was thrown into a “tailspin” after that meeting with Combs, the complaint said. She was later admitted to a hospital for severe depression and suicidal ideation and eventually dropped out of college, according to the filing.
The event left Dickerson-Neal struggling with mental health, career progression and humiliation as a result of the recording of the incident, the suit said.
Combs had allegedly pursued her “for a romantic or sexual relationship” on “repeated occasions,” but she rejected his advances because she heard about his alleged “history of treating women badly,” according to the suit. Dickerson-Neal and Combs had friends and acquaintances in common and she had appeared with Combs in a few clips of a music video, the suit said.
She didn’t go to a hospital or initially report the assault to police because she was confused, in pain and felt ashamed, the filing said. Dickerson-Neal tearfully told her friend about the alleged assault the next day, according to the suit.
Authorities were contacted, woman says
She later filed police reports in New York and New Jersey, spoke to several prosecutors with the hope of pressing charges and reached out to friends and acquaintances to locate the video Combs allegedly recorded, the filing said.
Dickerson-Neal was told by her colleagues that they were “terrified that Combs would retaliate against them and that they would lose future business and music opportunities if they made a statement in support of Plaintiff,” according to the suit.
It was not immediately clear Thursday what jurisdictions she filed the reports, when she filed them or what happened after her conversations with authorities.
The New York City Police Department would not confirm if it received a report from Dickerson-Neal, but said it “takes sexual assault and rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a police report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”
Dickerson-Neal went on to work in the music industry.
While working at a party, she ran into Combs, who allegedly “backed her into a corner” and “inappropriately confronted her,” the suit said. It was not clear Thursday how long after the alleged assault the party took place.
Combs allegedly got on his knees during that interaction and insisted “he did not do what she was saying,” according to the filing.
Dickerson-Neal ultimately left the music industry and moved to California, citing Combs’ rise and success as too painful to witness.
Woman says Cassie’s suit prompted her to take action
She said singer Cassie’s lawsuit against Combs was the impetus that “forced her to face his assault again,” the filing said.
An attorney for Cassie declined to comment on the suit.
Dickerson-Neal’s lawsuit filed Thursday names Combs, Bad Boy Entertainment, Bad Boy Records and Combs Enterprises as defendants. Combs Enterprises has been rebranded as Combs Global, a spokesperson for Combs told NBC News on Wednesday, before this lawsuit was filed.
The latest suit accuses Combs of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sex trafficking and revenge porn. Dickerson-Neal is seeking compensatory damages for mental and emotional injury, distress, pain and suffering and injury.
“Everyone deserves to be heard and Combs should not be immune from liability because of his wealth and public stature,” Michelle Caiola, one of Dickerson-Neal’s attorneys, said in a statement.
Jonathan Goldhirsch, another attorney, added: “Our client has not been able to escape the continuing impact of the harm Combs caused her many years ago. Through the Adult Survivors Act, she can avail herself to the courts to finally seek justice.”
The attorneys said they would not have additional comment.
Combs’ camp rejected the claims.
“This last-minute lawsuit is an example of how a well-intentioned law can be turned on its head,” a spokesperson for Combs said. “Ms. Dickerson’s 32-year-old story is made up and not credible. Mr. Combs never assaulted her, and she implicates companies that did not exist. This is purely a money grab and nothing more.”
Last week, Cassie, with whom Combs once had a romantic relationship, filed a $30 million lawsuit alleging Combs raped, sex-trafficked and abused her. The lawsuit was settled one day later for an undisclosed amount of money.
Cassie, whose full name is Cassandra Ventura, said she “decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control.”
In a statement Saturday, Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Combs, said a decision to settle, “especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing.”
“Mr. Combs’ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims,” he said.
On Tuesday, a lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court accusing Harve Pierre, the ex-President of Bad Boy Entertainment and Bad Boy Records, of sexually assaulting a former assistant. Combs’ companies were also named in the lawsuit on one count of gender-motivated violence and two counts of negligence.
While Pierre did not immediately respond to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Bad Boy Entertainment said Wednesday that the company was aware of the lawsuit from its former employee.
“The allegations are from many years ago that were never brought to the attention of the company,” the spokesperson said. “Neither the plaintiff nor the executive are current employees of the company. We are now investigating the allegations, and our top priority is the safety and well-being of our employees.”
Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.
Nicole Childers is the executive editor of Business, Tech and Innovation at NBC News.