Another week, another prominent figure in music outed for wrongdoing.
Jesse Lacey of Brand New is the latest entertainment figure to come under fire for sexual misconduct. The allegations stem from a Facebook post made by guitar tech Brian Diaz earlier this week. In his post, Mr. Diaz mentioned having heard rumors about Jesse Lacey in the past and asked if any women cared to come forward about their experiences with the beloved musician. At least one woman, who later recounted her experiences to Substream, chose to speak out.
Nicole Elizabeth Garey was just fifteen years old when she began exchanging messages with Jesse Lacey, then twenty-four, in 2002 after meeting at a holiday show in upstate New York. Speaking exclusively with Substream, Ms. Garey explained that the rock frontman ended their initial encounter by offering his email address. From there, the pair moved their interactions to AOL Instant Messenger before eventually moving to Skype. Here are the details of those interactions, as told by Garey:
”He solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24. Manipulated the hell out of me, demanded specific poses/settings/clothing, demeaned me, and made it clear that my sexuality was the only thing I had to offer. He knew what he was doing was shitty so he wouldn’t touch me until I was 19. I should’ve known better by then, but he had screwed me up so much psychologically that all I wanted was his approval. It fucked me up to the point that I STILL have nightmares and wakeup in a sweat. I still breakdown and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar.”
”Oh and yes he made me watch him masturbate on Skype. Apparently that’s a common thing with sexual predators. I took screen shots at some point, they’re probably on a computer in my basement if I ever really wanted to rehash my past that much (I don’t think I do).”
Garey, who is now 30, told us her interaction with Lacey ended around the time she was 22. She told us she now understands what was happening to her, but that was not always the case “Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until I was around 25 and had spent some time in rehab. It’s still hard for me to write this or re-read it and not say “I thought I was smarter than that.” I know deep down that it’s more complicated, but it’s just gut-wrenching to even think about. How did I allow that to keep happening? Why didn’t I speak up sooner? I was a kid, but like all teenagers, I thought I was an adult. I was very wrong.”
Some have questioned the timing of Ms. Garey’s comments, as they arise at a time when allegations of sexual assault seem to break every single day. “I never wanted to come forward because it didn’t seem bad enough and it wasn’t physically violent, but sexual abuse comes in different levels and forms and all of it is unacceptable,” Garey told Substream. “It has taken years for me to realize the extent to which his actions have harmed me, and continues to harm me, especially now that I have a daughter of my own. I spent years in denial, I tried to drink it away, I tried to run to different cities, but it always followed me and it always will. I wish him no harm, but I hope that some day he can see the effects of his behavior and make a change for the sake of our children.”
Garey later informed us that she has tried to tell her story before, both to friends and those she felt could be trusted. Those confessions lead her to lose friends and relationships, but she is not letting the fear of rejection prevent her from speaking her truth.
We have reached out to Brand New for comment, but at the time of publication had not received a response. Follow Substream on Twitter for updates.