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“It was a running joke among those associated with Bassnectar that he would have to find a date at a high school dance,” states the lawsuit

By Christine Pelisek
April 06, 2021 05:41 PM
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EDM DJ Bassnectar
Lorin Ashton, AKA DJ Bassnectar
| Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

A lawsuit has been filed against electronic dance music DJ Bassnectar, alleging he groomed and sexually abused underage girls.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday on behalf of two women, alleges Bassnectar, whose real name is Lorin Ashton, was "targeting and engaging in commercial sex acts with minors and utilizing his shows and organizations to accomplish the exploitation of young girls for his own sexual gratification."

"It was a running joke among those associated with Bassnectar that he would have to find a date at a high school dance," according to the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE. 

The lawsuit alleges that Ashton was "presenting himself as an advisor and peer in order to gain young girls trust, despite the fact that he was in his mid-thirties at the time."

"Bassnectar was able to conceal yet maintain consistent contact with these underage girls through secretive messaging apps which he required all communication to be funneled through so that he could groom them for eventual commercial sex acts, get them to send him sexually explicit photographs and further exploit them for his own gratification," the lawsuit states.

Ashton's attorney Mitchell Schuster called the claims "outrageous."

"These outrageous claims — which were clearly designed for the media, rather than for the courts — are completely without merit, and we eagerly look forward to proving so," Schuster said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. 

The lawsuit alleges the DJ reached out to the women, who were then underage, on Twitter, and gave them his email and phone number. 

"In an effort to groom" the victims, Bassnectar allegedly suggested they "watch 'American Beauty,' a movie about an older man having a relationship with a young girl," states the lawsuit. 

Ashton allegedly flew the victims to his performances where they would stay in his hotel rooms and demand they shower before they have sex unprotected with him "so that they were 'clean,'" the lawsuit alleges. 

 "In exchange for the sexual encounters, Bassnectar gave [the minors] cash — in amounts ranging from three-hundred ($300) to one thousand six hundred ($1,600) dollars," states the lawsuit. 

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According to the lawsuit, Ashton also allegedly required that the minors "take sexually explicit photographs of themselves and send them to Bassnectar," the lawsuit contends. 

Ashton allegedly insisted the teen keep their relationship a secret, told them they couldn't have sex with others although he was allowed to have sex with anyone he chose to. 

The lawsuit alleges that the sexual abuse occurred between 2012 and 2016. 

According to the lawsuit, one of the teens allegedly confronted Ashton in the summer of 2020, stating "that she was taken advantage of, trafficked and that what happened between them was statutory rape."

The lawsuit alleges that "Bassnectar admitted his abuse of [the teen] was 'so inappropriate' and that what he did was 'completely wrong.'" 

Alexandria MacMaster, one of the attorneys representing the alleged victims, tells PEOPLE that the women want to hold Ashton accountable and also "want to make sure anyone else who went through this that they know they aren't alone and they want to prevent Ashton from doing this to any young girls in the future."