DBryan Singer, the openly gay film director who shot to fame with The Usual Suspects and has since helmed Superman Returns and launched the X-Men franchise, has been accused of sexual abuse in a federal civil lawsuit. The thing is, the alleged abuse occurred in 1999. The accusation is also of sexually abusing an “underaged” male, though the plaintiff was in fact 17 at the time (the abuse allegedly occurred in both Hawaii, where the age of consent is 16, and California, where it is 18).

Singer has disputed the charges. And considering that the acts supposedly occurred as long as 15 years ago — and the statute of limitations for rape would have expired more than seven years ago — the claim is rightly viewed with some suspicion.

The timing also seems curious — Singer’s next film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, opens next month. No better time to make a stale claim than when the defendant is anxious to avoid bad press.