Bill Cosby, NBC Being Sued By 5 Women Who Claim Actor Sexually Abused Them
Bill Cosby is being sued by five women who are accusing the actor of sexual abuse he allegedly committed several decades ago when they attempted to break into show business.
In a lawsuit filed Monday night in Manhattan Supreme Court, the alleged victims said that Cosby, 85, had pretended to be a mentor to them while drugging, groping, raping, and abusing them sexually as early as 1969.
Additionally, the women are suing NBC Universal Media, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and the Carsey-Werner Company for allegedly failing to protect them.
They claimed that by their alleged inaction, the companies "condoned and encouraged" the abuse.
In their lawsuits, Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd all claim that Cosby abused them when they were young and vulnerable.
According to Bernard, the former sitcom star raped her on two occasions in 1990 while playing the role of Mrs. Minifield.
During the second incident, she claims Cosby smothered her with a pillow after she woke up with him on top of her while she screamed "No."
In a separate incident at his Manhattan home, he allegedly forced her to engage in oral sex with him. Afterward, she claimed that she intended to report the incident to the police and the hospital.
"In response, Bill Cosby told Ms. Bernard that if she went to the police or the hospital, he would seek criminal charges against her for making a false accusation, make sure that she stays in prison for a long time, sue her for defamation, 'blacklist' her from the entertainment industry, and 'erase' her," the suit claims.
"Bill Cosby then pushed Ms. Bernard down the stairs and out of his home."
On another occasion, Cosby allegedly shouted "sexual profanities" at Bernard and threatened to fire her in front of "The Cosby Show's" cast and crew.
According to Bernard, Cosby's abuse made her fearful for her life and career.
The second woman accusing Cosby of sexual abuse, Tirl, claims that during her small role on "The Cosby Show" in 1989, she had frequently been invited to the star's dressing room for lunch but had refused until employee Frank Scotti "grabbed her by the arm and physically escorted her to the dressing room."
The lawsuit states that Tirl had accused Cosby in the past and even broke down in tears when she told Kaufman Astoria, Carsey-Werner, and NBC employees that she was uncomfortable.
In three instances, Tirl escaped the dressing room before Cosby arrived, but in the fourth, Cosby entered, locked the door, and restrained her.
Cosby allegedly "touched her breasts without her consent, forcibly pressed his penis into Ms. Tirl's back without her consent, and forcibly kissed her neck without her consent, and then whispered, 'This is all we were going to do. Make love. This is making love.'"
According to the lawsuit, Cosby allegedly drugged and raped the third plaintiff Gittens in his Manhattan home in the late 1980s while she was discussing a role on Cosby's show.
Gittens claimed he drugged her, reached beneath her skirt, anally penetrated her with his finger, and ejaculated.
The fourth woman to come forward in the lawsuit was only 17 years old when she met Cosby. However, Thompson said when she turned 18, Cosby forced her to touch his penis and masturbate him.
As for Ladd, she said she became a "platonic friend" with Cosby in 1969. Ladd alleged that Cosby gave her a pill for a headache that caused her to black out.
She said when she woke up, she was lying in bed with Cosby in a robe nearby "with indications that Bill Cosby had vaginally raped her without her consent while she was blacked out, including his semen on and between her legs."
The Adult Survivors Act, which was just passed in New York and suspended the statute of limitations for a year, enables adult victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits against their abusers at this time.
"With the passage of the [Adult Survivors Act], these five women can now come forward and pursue justice for what was done of them," the plaintiff's lawyer Jordan Merson said.
Over the past few years, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women, which he has vehemently denied.
In 2018, he was found guilty on three charges of aggravated indecent assault and given a ten-year prison sentence. He filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment and allowed him to be released in June 2021.
In June, a Santa Monica civil trial jury convicted him of sexually abusing a teen girl in 1975.
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