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Five women file civil lawsuit in New York against BIll Cosby for alleged sexual assault

Bill Cosby
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Five women filed a civil lawsuit against Bill Cosby and a handful of television studios for Cosby’s alleged acts of sexual assault against the women.

On Dec. 5, plaintiffs Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd filed a civil lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County filed the suit against Cosby, claiming in the complaint that he sexually assaulted and sexually battered the women. The complaint also makes claims from Bernard, Tirl, Gittens and Thompson that NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Inc. and The CarseyWerner Company, LLC failed to intervene, supervise or prevent Cosby’s alleged acts, even though the companies allegedly knew or should have known about Cosby’s alleged actions.

Jordan Merson, of Merson Law, PLLC, who is representing the plaintiffs, stated that “With the filing of their Complaint, these women have begun the process of seeking justice for what has happened to them. We appreciate these women coming forward and look forward to pursuing their claims in Court.”

The complaint alleges that Cosby fostered a mentorship relationship with Bernard, who appeared on “The Cosby Show” as “Mrs. Minifield,”  with Cosby using his connections with the show before sexually assaulting, drugging, and raping her. With Tirl, the complaint alleges that Cosby used the staff and show facilities to isolate, falsely imprison, and sexually assault her while she was appearing on “The Cosby Show” as a police officer.

For Gittens, the complaint alleges that Cosby used his association with the show to also build a mentoring relationship with her before drugging and sexually assaulting her. For Thompson, Cosby allegedly developed a mentoring relationship with her, including helping her obtain a role on “The Cosby Show,” before sexually assaulting her. Lastly, Ladd alleges that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1969.

“I am grateful to New York State to be able to stand with my fellow survivors as we support each other in our quest for justice. I also encourage all other survivors to stand up and have their voices heard,” said Bernard. “Collectively, by holding our abusers accountable for their actions, we can set an example for future generations and make this world a safer place.”

“This is an important step toward holding Bill Cosby and his enablers accountable for their actions and finding some measure of justice for the women they have harmed,” said Jordan Rutsky, also of Merson Law, PLLC. “We are thankful for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit and other similarly situated women for their bravery in facing their abusers.”

The lawsuit is brought following the enactment of New York’s Adult Survivors Act, C.P.L.R. 214-j, which created a one-year window for victims of adult sexual abuse to bring their civil claims to court, regardless of when they were abused. The lawsuit also comes in the wake of Cosby’s release from federal prison after his conviction for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004 was overturned.

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