Bill Cosby facing yet another string of sexual assault allegations

Five women, including two who appeared on "The Cosby Show," allege battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

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Bill Cosby is preparing for yet another legal battle after five more women — under the new Adult Survivors Act in New York — accused the former TV icon of sexual assault and battery.

Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jennifer Thompson, Jewel Gittens and Cindra Ladd filed the lawsuit in New York state court against “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” creator on Monday, ABC News reported. The five allege battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment; they also accused media companies of negligence.

Additionally named in the case is NBC, which served as the production company and recording studio for “The Cosby Show,” the popular sitcom from the 1990s, on which Bernard and Tirl both made guest appearances.

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby arrives for a sentencing hearing, following his sexual assault conviction, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania., on Sept. 25, 2018. That conviction was later overturned. Now, five more women, under the new Adult Survivors Act in New York, have accused the former TV icon of sexual assault and battery. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP, File)

According to the lawsuit, Cosby “used his power, fame, and prestige, including the power, fame and prestige given to him by defendants NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Inc., and The Carsey-Werner Company, LLC, to misuse his enormous power in such a nefarious, horrific way,” ABC reported.

Cosby denied the allegations against him and said he was looking forward to defending himself in court, according to a statement shared by his attorneys.

“As we have always stated, and now America can see, this isn’t about justice for victims of alleged sexual assault, it’s ALL ABOUT MONEY,” Cosby’s representatives said, ABC reported. “We believe that the courts, as well as the court of public opinion, will follow the rules of law and relieve Mr. Cosby of these alleged accusations.”

Since the Adult Survivors Act went into effect on Thanksgiving, adults who say they were sexually assaulted in the past have been able to bring lawsuits that would have otherwise been time-barred. Ladd alleges Cosby raped her in “approximately 1969,” but most of the women’s assaults, they say, occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The lawsuit filed Monday contends Cosby drugged and raped Bernard in August 1990, when he allegedly set up a meeting, falsely claiming he wanted to help advance her professional goals. There, the lawsuit alleges, he added an unknown intoxicant to a reportedly non-alcoholic beverage he made and served to her.

“Once Ms. Bernard was incapacitated from the unknown intoxicant, Bill Cosby undressed and raped her without her consent,” the lawsuit alleges, according to ABC. 

Tirl allegedly turned down invitations to Cosby’s dressing room multiple times before being told to go.

“Suddenly and without her consent, Bill Cosby approached behind her, pulled her arms down, wrapping them over the front of her torso and held them down such that Ms. Tirl could not move or escape his grasp,” according to the lawsuit, which goes on to describe a subsequent assault involving Tirl, ABC reported.

The women’s lawsuit against Cosby contains charges similar to others against him. He was found guilty of drugging and raping Andrea Constand, who was a Temple University employee, in 2004.

In 2018, he received a 3-to-10-year sentence in that case, theGrio previously reported. He was released on a technicality in June 2021 after serving almost three years of the sentence.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction after determining that the court should have never prosecuted Cosby because of a deal he struck with the Montgomery County prosecutor. The prosecutor had agreed not to charge Cosby in exchange for him testifying in a civil case brought by Constand.

According to ABC, Cosby’s attorneys claimed the women were “unwilling to accept” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s vindication of the disgraced actor, noting they had previously been clients of women’s advocacy attorney Gloria Allred and among a “parade of accusers back in 2014 through 2016.”

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