Bill Cosby sued by five women for alleged sexual assault and abuse

Bill Cosby sued by five women for alleged sexual assault and abuse

Five women, including two former actresses who appeared on The Cosby Show, filed a sexual assault and abuse lawsuit against Bill Cosby in New York state court Monday.

In a complaint reviewed by EW, actresses Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl, as well as Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd, accused the embattled comedian of assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment in encounters they say date back decades.

All five women had previously come forward with allegations against Cosby. The civil suit was filed under New York's newly passed Adult Survivors Act, which gives survivors of sexual abuse a one-year window to sue even if the statute of limitations on their allegations has expired.

The suit also lists NBCUniversal Media, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and the Carsey-Werner Company as defendants, accusing them of negligence. "Each plaintiff was sexually assaulted and battered by defendant Bill Cosby in the same or similar manner when he used his power, fame, and prestige, including the power, fame and prestige given to him" by the aforementioned media companies "to misuse his enormous power in such a nefarious, horrific way," the complaint says.

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images Bill Cosby

Bernard, who played a patient of Cosby's character on The Cosby Show, accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in New Jersey and Nevada in 1990. Tirl, who played a police officer on the sitcom, accused Cosby of inappropriately touching her without her consent in 1989 in his dressing room. Gittens alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in either 1989 or 1990, while Thompson said Cosby inappropriately touched her in 1988. Ladd accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1969.

Cosby has denied the allegations. His representative Andrew Wyatt said in a statement to EW, "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. 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. Mr. Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegation waged against him and looks forward to defending himself in court."

Reached for comment Tuesday, Jordan Merson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, "With the passage of the Adult Survivors Act, these five women can now come forward and pursue justice for what was done to them, and as their counsel, we look forward to pursuing discovery of Mr. Cosby and the other defendants in this case."

More than 50 women came forward with similar allegations against Cosby in 2014. The following year, Cosby was charged with the assault of Andrea Constand, a former director of operations for Temple University's women's basketball team, and he was convicted in 2018. Cosby was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison but was released last year after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction, ruling that the prosecution against him was an unfair violation of due process.

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