Bill Cosby sued for sexual abuse under New York’s new look law



CNN

Two former ‘The Cosby Show’ actresses are among five women who filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby in New York State Court on Monday, accusing him of sexual assault and abuse dating back decades.

The 34-page lawsuit is filed by actresses Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl as well as Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd. The lawsuit names as defendants Cosby and media companies NBCUniversal Media, Kaufman Astoria Studios and The Carsey-Werner Company, which together ran “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992.

The lawsuit charges Cosby with assault, assault, infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment and accuses the media companies of negligence.

“Each plaintiff was sexually assaulted and beaten by defendant Bill Cosby in the same or similar manner when he used his power, fame and prestige, including the power, fame and prestige that conferred on him [the] accused…of abusing his enormous power in such a nefarious and gruesome manner,” the lawsuit reads.

“Now these five plaintiffs have come forward to defend themselves and others, after they were abused and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.”

In a statement, Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt called the lawsuit “frivolous” and denied the allegations.

“As we’ve always said and now America sees [sic] that this is not about justice for the victims of alleged sexual assault, it is all about the money,” he wrote in a statement. “We believe the courts as well as the court of public opinion will follow the rule of law and clear Mr. Cosby of these alleged charges. Mr Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegations [sic] against him and looks forward to defending himself in court.

NBC, Carsey-Warner and Kaufman Astoria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, passed last month, which gives adult survivors of sexual abuse a one-year window to sue their abusers even if the statute of limitations on their claims expired.

The law mirrors that of the state The Child Victims Act 2019, which also opened a two-year window for victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers. This law has resulted in around 10,600 lawsuits, including a major case against Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein. (Prince Andrew denied any wrongdoing and agreed to settle the case.)

The idea of ​​the retrospective window is that many victims of sexual abuse take years to speak publicly about their trauma, and this law would give them the opportunity to finally have their day in court.

The allegations in Monday’s lawsuit mirror longstanding accusations against Cosby, the 85-year-old comedian and actor once known as “America’s Dad” for his public persona as a father figure of integrity.

According to the lawsuit, Cosby drugged and raped Bernard, who played Mrs. Minifield on “The Cosby Show,” in New Jersey and Nevada in 1990 and at his Manhattan home in 1991. Bernard has previously spoken out about Cosby’s alleged abuse and spoke on the steps outside the courthouse during his criminal trials.

Tirl, who played a small role as a police officer on “The Cosby Show,” alleges that Cosby inappropriately touched her without her consent in her dressing room in 1989. She also alleges that Cosby said that he “owned” NBC, according to the lawsuit.

Gittens alleges that Cosby invited her to his Manhattan home in 1989 or 1990 to discuss working on “The Cosby Show,” but then drugged and sexually assaulted her.

Thompson alleges that Cosby forced her to touch him inappropriately without his consent in his Manhattan home in 1988, when she was 18. Ladd alleges that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1969.

In 2014 and 2015, more than 50 women came forward with similar allegations that he gave them drugs to incapacitate them, assaulted them, and then used his wealth and stature in the entertainment industry to pressure them. to keep them silent.

He was charged in 2015 with the sexual assault of Andrea Constand and – after an initial trial completed with a hung jury – was convicted in 2018 in the #MeToo movement’s first major trial. He was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison and was released in 2021 when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction, saying his due process rights had been violated.

Earlier this year, a Los Angeles jury found Cosby liable in a civil case brought by Judy Huth, a woman who said she sexually assaulted her as a teenager in the 1970s.


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