Anti-Flag's Justin Sane Served Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Kristina Sarhadi, who initially came forward with the allegations on a podcast, has also sued the band's distribution company

Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 22, 2023

Justin Sane — the former lead singer of long-running political punk act Anti-Flag, who broke up in July — has been sued for sexual assault in a new lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone.

Kristina Sarhadi, who initially came forward with allegations against the musician (then unnamed) on podcast right before the band abruptly called it quits and later confirmed he was the alleged assailant, filed the lawsuit against Sane (born Justin Geever) in New York court for an unspecified amount.

The document also names Anti-Flag's distribution company, of which guitarist Chris Head, drummer Pat Thetic and bassist Chris "#2" Barker are all registered members. The filing claims that Hardwork Distribution "should have known" about the singer's alleged conduct and "had a duty of reasonable care to enact policies and procedures to protect fans."

The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault and violence. If you believe you have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct and are looking for support, consult the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime to find resources in your area. 

"Justin Geever used his platform as a celebrated, self-proclaimed 'punk rock star' to groom and lure vulnerable girls into feeling safe in his presence," Sarhadi shared in a statement. "While he sang about protecting women and standing up to abusers, it appears he was hiding an addiction to power and control, harming countless women who have been unable to speak up before now. Today I hope to encourage his survivors, and survivors of other predators in the music industry, to feel hope again."

The lawsuit mirrors Sarhadi's initial comments that the alleged assault was "the most terrifying thing" she had ever experienced: "I can't stress how violent he was and how much I fully believed I was going to die, that he was going to kill me," she said on enough., a podcast centred on abuse in the music industry.

The document alleges that Sarhadi met Sane after an Anti-Flag show in 2010. She claims to have spoken with him, but did not reciprocate the "flirty nature" of the conversation and repeatedly told the musician that she was in a committed relationship. When he allegedly invited her to a film festival the following week, Sarhadi agreed, "trusting in [his] strong feminist stance." She says she was also reassured by knowing that he had a serious girlfriend.

After Sane's performance at the film festival, they allegedly attended an afterparty together — after which he convinced Sarhad i to come to his motel room under the guise of letting her listen to an unreleased song. He then allegedly began restraining and strangling her, forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

"When she could breathe, she repeatedly pleaded with him to stop," the suit reads. "She was shocked and crying. He was mean and violent with Plaintiff; she did not matter and was just an object for him to dominate." Per the filing, Sarhadi was only able to escape once the musician had "passed out" on top of her.

After the plaintiff initially spoke out, 12 more women came forward with allegations against Sane in September, some having been teenagers or as young as 12 at the times of the alleged assaults. He has denied the allegations, while his former bandmates have issued a statement in support of the survivors coming forward.

Sarhadi — a holistic therapist and health coach — squeaks the filing in under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which has temporarily waived the statute of limitations on sexual misconduct civil suits for the past year before its window closes Friday (November 24). The Act's final days have also seen Axl Rose sued for an alleged incident dating back to 1989.

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