Woman accuses Brand New's Jesse Lacey of sexual misconduct when she was a minor—UPDATED
[Photo by: Ryan Bakerink]
UPDATE: Nov. 14 @ 8:30 a.m. ET: Another woman, Emily Driskill, spoke to Pitchfork, alleging Jesse Lacey solicited her for explicit photos when she was 17. According to Pitchfork, she says Lacey subjected her to “countless masturbatory video chat sessions” and “attempted to manipulate [her] into engaging in sexual situations with other people, on camera, for his viewing pleasure.” You can read the full piece here.
In a Facebook thread started by guitar tech Brian Diaz (guitar tech for the likes of Guns N' Roses and Fall Out Boy) earlier this week meant to confront Lacey’s alleged inappropriate behavior, Nicole Elizabeth Garey claims “he solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24.”
Read Garey’s full comments below:
“YES. 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. JESSE LACEY IS A PIECE OF SHIT.
And I will tell this story over and over and over and over.
And thanks, again, for continually bringing it up. Because I’ve lost friends – male and female – because they think that what he did to me has no bearing on his music. As if those songs are not all about him being a fucking creep.
Yeah, 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.
And he did tell me he deleted them a couple of weeks after we talked. That’s why he kept asking for more. That’s how I know he knew what he was doing.
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 says she met Lacey in 2002 at a holiday show in Buffalo, New York. At the time, she was 15 years old and Lacey was 24. Garey explained that the frontman gave her his email address after he spotted her taking photos of the band and wanted copies of the photos. They continued emailing back and forth after she sent the photos, eventually moving their interactions to AOL Instant Messenger and then to Skype.
“When I was younger, I was really flattered,” she tells AltPress. “I was like, ‘Oh, it’s an older guy in a band that I like.’ I wasn’t used to the attention.”
Garey alleges she was 15 years old when Lacey began requesting nude photos via AIM and that years later he exposed himself over Skype. She says she and Lacey kept in touch, off and on, for “about seven or eight years.”
“He would disappear for a while and then pop back up—either it was email or instant messenger,” Garey tells AltPress. “It was him sending requests for the most part. It was never really violent or upfront; it was always just very… underhanded and manipulative, in a psychological way.”
It wasn’t until she turned 24 herself, she says, that she realized something was strange about the interactions with the frontman.
“You reach this age, and you’re like, ‘Who would do that?’ Looking back at that when I was 15, it’s just a very stark difference,” she says. “So it hit me, and that’s when it really started to spiral for me, realizing the implications that something was wrong.”
Garey says she attended rehab in 2010 after she began drinking heavily.
“I needed to get my head back on straight because I didn’t know where it came from or why I was getting out of control,” she says. “So I went to rehab around 2010, and it helped me see things a little more clearly and see why I was drinking and why I was getting out of control. It all kind of circled back; I remember these little things and they all added up. A lot of people [in rehab] had the same kind of stories, not quite as long or not quite as understated, I guess. They’d all been sexually abused in some way, and it helps to put it into perspective and see that what was happening was not a normal thing.”
Garey says this is not the first time she has spoken out with her story, but it’s the first time it has gained any traction.
“I’ve made comments on my friend Brian’s posts several times about it,” she says, explaining she’s known Diaz for years and used to watch his band at the time, Reunion Show, perform. “It always seemed like no one was really listening,” she says. “When I commented that, I was very angry. It’s been 15 years.”
Garey explains that she decided to come forward in the hopes of helping stop the cycle of sexual abuse.
“I hope that it helps other people realize they’re not alone and other women feel more comfortable sharing their story,” she says. “Hopefully we can all come out of the darkness. I hope this shows men that this won’t be swept under the rug anymore, because it happens. I have a daughter of 2, and it’s hard to look at her and just think about it happening to her. Hopefully for her and everyone we can stop the cycle.”
Lacey hasn’t respond to these allegations. We have reached out to Brand New’s representatives for a comment.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources:
A Voice For The Innocent – http://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org
Anti Violence Project (serves LGBT) – https://avp.org
Punk Talks – https://www.punktalks.org
National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800.656.4673
National Sexual Violence Resource Center – https://www.nsvrc.org
Editor's note: We have clarified in the story that, according to Garey, Lacey requested photos from her via AIM when she was 15.