Five women have filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby alleging that the disgraced comedian posed as a mentor during the 1980s and ’90s before sexually assaulting them, TMZ reports. [Editor’s note: The following article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.]
In the suit, plaintiffs Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd shared similar stories of power imbalances and sexual misconduct, often alleging that they were drugged.
Bernard, who played Mrs. Minifield in a 1992 episode of The Cosby Show, claims that she was drugged and assaulted multiple times, and that once she regained consciousness to find Cosby smothering her with a pillow. When she threatened to go to the police, she says that Cosby pushed her down a flight of stairs and threatened to ruin her career, frightening her into silence.
Tirl says she was escorted to Cosby’s dressing room after playing a cop on The Cosby Show, where he locked the door, groped her breasts, and whispered, “This is making love,” while pressing his erect penis against her. Gittens alleges that she met Cosby at his home to discuss an acting gig, where she was drugged and assaulted. According to Thompson, Cosby forced her to masturbate him, and Ladd claims that after she complained of a headache, he gave her a pill that caused her to pass out, at which time he raped her.
The five women are seeking unspecified damages. A representative for Cosby called the suit “frivolous” and said that the accusers are “all about the money.”
Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and assault, and in 2018 he was found guilty and sentenced to no less than three years in prison for three counts of aggravated indecent assault. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2021, claiming that an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged. Earlier this year, he was found guilty of assaulting a then-16-year-old girl in civil court and ordered to pay $500,000, an amount that he celebrated by shouting “Booyah!”
If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual misconduct, you can reach out for support:
Crisis Text Line
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741
http://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)