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Former BoDeans member Sam Llanas speaks about sexual assault allegations

Posted: 6:43 PM, Jul 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-11 21:07:05Z

The BoDeans are arguably the most famous band to put Milwaukee on the map.  The co-founders of the Waukesha rock band are now on different sides of sexual assault allegations.  

Kurt Neumann's daughter Tessa said Sam Llanas repeatedly molested her, while Llanas maintains his innocence.  

"How can you believe something just because somebody says it.  There's not evidence, there's no proof," said Sam Llanas. 

Tessa Neumann said the alleged sexual abuse started when she was 9 and went on until she was 15.  Llanas said the two were just friends. 

"Nothing more, nothing less.  She was the stepdaughter of my partner and she was around sometimes and of course over time we got to know each other a little bit and that's it," said Llanas. 

Llanas has not been charged.  He thinks the allegations are the Neumann's way of tarnishing his reputation. 

"It's definitely affected my career, my livelihood and just my reputation," said Llanas. 

Llanas show at Summerfest was canceled in the midst of the allegations. 

"This is probably the most stressful time of my life.  This is like the absolute worst thing that can happen to somebody especially somebody who's innocent," said Llanas. 

Tessa Neumann gave a detailed account of the allegations to the Journal Sentinel a month ago. TODAY'S TMJ4 has been in contact with the Neumann family, but they are not ready to speak on camera. 

Tuesday Rhonda Zolecki spoke on behalf of the family.  She is a former musician, advocate for childhood sexual abuse victims and a victim herself. 

"This is not about Kurt, this is not about Barbra and it's not about the BoDeans.  It is about the fact that a young child between the ages of 9 and 15 was sexually assaulted and molested by someone who the family and she trusted," said Rhonda Zolecki. 

A statement from Kurt Neumann said:

It is unbelievably sad as to why anyone would give this man a platform to come on and lie about our family and our daughter and deny the damage he has done to us. And re-victimize our daughter again and again and again. Sam Llanas has repeatedly lied and changed his story over and over and yet he seems to think no one is listening or no one cares. But we are listening, we do care and we are taking note. We have years worth of documentation, video, and witnesses that prove the truth. The truth will come out. And he will be exposed. This I promise you.
We’ve seen this before in cases like Slinger High School band director David Hanke. Nicolet High School teacher David R Johnson and Dr. Larry Nassar, and so many others. Where the accused goes on tv and radio to deny and deny the accusations. Where a community can’t believe it’s true. But in the end...it is proven true.

Sam Llanas is constantly and desperately trying to cause distractions from the real story here. But the real story, the only story is the fact that Sam Llanas molested our daughter. These are very serious charges that no parent or child would make up. No one wants to go through this. You only go through it because you want your child to heal once and for all. To get through the darkness they’ve been trapped in for years now.

To allow her the right to say “what you did to me was wrong! You took a big part of my childhood away. And now I’m taking it back!”

Sam Llanas' released the following statement:

At the start let me unequivocally deny all of the allegations made against me by Ms. Neumann and her mother. Nothing ever happened between Ms. Neumann and myself but I wish her peace and recovery from the turmoil she has experienced in her life. However I did not contribute to those troubles.

What is not in dispute though is that upon my departure from BoDeans (the band I cofounded with my high school friend Kurt Neumann) I stopped receiving any Publishing monies due me for material co-written and co-published with BoDeans / Kurt Neumann. I have never received so much as a basic accounting of publishing and other monies collected by BoDeans / Kurt Neumann. Instead he and his wife have embarked on a campaign to destroy my reputation both personally and professionally. It is no coincidence that these new allegations emerged on the eve of the release of my latest record.

This is character assassination plain and simple, an attempt to divert attention from the obligations that Kurt and the band owe.

It is now well documented that Ms. Neumann has suffered greatly as a result of her childhood heroin and other substance addictions and no one but a pure monster would not sympathize, empathize or have compassion for the struggle she has and continues to endure.

In this context the claims of horrible abuse that Tessa has suffered during her childhood come as no surprise. For this anyone with compassion would truly want justice. Regardless of the methods Ms Neumann has utilized to recall these events — whether through hypnotic suggestion or forms of deep hypnotherapy by well meaning professionals-these result in often misguided recollection of events called False Memory Syndrome. (FMS)(1)

Anyone who has suffered such early childhood trauma knows that getting the help one needs to resolve such trauma is critical. We can only hope that Ms. Neumann gets or continues to get that help. The fact remains that regardless of claims to the contrary - I am not the person who committed these horrendous acts. I unequivocally stand by my claim of innocence. My team is keeping all options on the table in dealing with these acts of defamation, slander, and libel.

(1)False memory syndrome (FMS) describes a condition in which a person's identity and relationships are affected by memories that are factually incorrect but that they strongly believe.[1] Peter J. Freyd originated the term,[2] which the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) subsequently popularized.