Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley has been sued for sexual harassment by James Frost-Winn, a former member of Tinsley’s side project band Crystal Garden, Consequence of Sound reports.
Twenty-eight year old Frost-Winn, a Seattle-based trumpet player who worked for Tinsley as a member of the band Crystal Garden from about 2015 through 2016, has accused the 54-year-old musician of making unwanted sexual advances and comments, and of “long-term grooming” as well.
Frost-Winn tells CoS that he met Tinsley in 2007 and established a professional relationship that allegedly soon led to unwanted sexual advances, including multiple lewd comments via text, screenshots of which are available here.
Acording to the report, Frost-Winn, claims that during a recording session at Tinsley’s Virginia home studio in 2015, Tinsley began groping him as he started to fall asleep. Frost-Winn says he woke up to Tinsley allegedly masturbating in front of him: “He had his hand on my ass. He was climaxing. I sat there for hours; I was so freaked out. I felt assaulted.”
Frost-Winn claims that Tinsley blamed the incident on a “pill mix-up.” He ultimately quit Crystal Garden in 2016 after Tinsley started bragging about the incident in front of other people.
Frost-Winn said that he felt suicidal after leaving Seattle and returning to San Francisco following his departure from the band. According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone, he’s seeking damages “for loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and humiliation in an amount proven at trial,” in addition to loss of future earnings and back pay to the tune of $9 million. In 2015, Tinsley was also sued by his former financial adviser who accused him in the dismissed suit of being a “sexual predator” who “has victimized an unknown number of starry-eyed fans.”
Dave Matthews Band has issued a statement to Pitchfork saying, “Though Boyd is no longer a member of the band, we are shocked by these disturbing allegations and we were not previously aware of them.”
This past February, Tinsley, who is the father of two adult children, announced that he was taking a break from Dave Matthews Band in order to focus on his family and health. According to Consequence of Sound, Tinsley made this announcement the same day that Frost-Winn sent him a legal demand letter in an attempt to settle his misconduct claims out of court. Dave Matthews addressed Tinsley’s absence in a recent interview by Vulture, but didn’t specify why the violinist took a break:
“I have a deep love for Boyd, and he has to deal with his stuff,” Matthews said in the interview.
He also noted that Boyd’s departure is indefinite: “I can’t say, ‘I can’t wait till he comes back,’ because I don’t know what’s going to happen. But right now being away is better for him. Nobody is happy about this situation. Except that we’re happy he can figure some stuff out. I hope he does.”