While Bill Cosby has spent the last several weeks being tried in the court of public opinion over numerous allegations of rape, a new lawsuit aims to bring him to actual court for the first time since 2005. Judy Huth, now 55 years old, has filed a civil lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court that claims Cosby molested her when she was 15, during a visit to the Playboy Mansion in 1974. Huth’s account is a now-familiar story of Cosby working his wiles as a powerful man on a starstruck girl, plying her with alcohol, then forcing himself on her—though obviously, her young age makes this story especially unsettling.
According to the suit, Cosby met Huth and her friend “in or about 1974,” while they were in Lacy Park in San Marino, where she says Cosby was shooting a movie. Although, it’s not clear what movie that might have been: In 1974, Cosby would likely have been working on the (again, unfortunately titled) Let’s Do It Again, which was filming in Atlanta and Louisiana. But given the vagueness of the ”in or about 1974” timeline, it’s possible it could have been Mother, Jugs & Speed, which did shoot within that general area of L.A. Still, that movie didn’t have a completed screenplay until 1975.
Nevertheless, Huth says Cosby was there on set, and that he had the two girls sit in a director’s chair and chat with him, which led to his inviting them to join him at his tennis club. Huth also says Cosby asked how old they were, at which point she replied that she was 15 and her friend 16.
Upon meeting Cosby at his tennis club the following weekend, Huth says he brought the pair to a nearby house where he gave the two teens “multiple alcoholic beverages” over a round of billiards. “Under the terms of Cosby’s game, plaintiff was required to consume a beer every time Cosby won a game,” the suit says.
Later that day, Huth says Cosby took them on a “surprise” trip to the Playboy Mansion, where he instructed both to tell anyone who asked that they were 19. And it was there that Huth claims Cosby followed her to a bathroom in a nearby suite, only for her to emerge and find him sitting on the bed. She says Cosby then attempted to “put his hand down her pants” while also “taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.” (The details recall the account of model-actress Angela Leslie, who claimed Cosby did the same thing to her in 1990.)
Under California law—and unlike many of Cosby’s other accusers—Huth is allowed to bring charges against him due to her being sexually abused as a minor, as the statute of limitations is lifted for adults who realize later in life that they had sustained emotional injury. Her case will likely depend on the court agreeing that she only became aware of that “psychological damage and mental anguish” within the last three years, as she contends, and that her distress is “substantial and continuing.” Huth is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages.
Though Cosby’s lawyer, Marty Singer, has been quick to refute any and all accusations against his client as opportunistic fabrications, he’s refused comment so far. Given that this is the first case to be brought against Cosby from this new wave of allegations—and the accuser’s age at the time—no doubt he’s choosing his words very carefully for his inevitable statement refuting her claims and casting aspersions on her character.
Huth’s suit joins the allegations of the many other women who have said that Cosby sexually assaulted them—including Janice Dickinson, who earlier this week elaborated on her original claims in a teary interview with CNN. It also comes shortly after The New York Times published court testimony from Cosby’s 2005 suit, in which he admits to giving an exclusive interview to The National Enquirer in exchange for the tabloid killing its interview with Beth Ferrier—who accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in the mid-1980s—because he was worried her account might bolster the suit’s credibility.
Elsewhere in Cosby’s increasingly mottled sweater of a world, he resigned from the board of trustees at his alma mater of Temple University, where he’d served for 32 years, following pressure from alumni and an online petition. (The first woman to bring a lawsuit against Cosby, Andrea Constand, worked for Temple’s basketball team.) He also cut ties with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he got his master’s and doctorate degrees, and had more recently served as an honorary co-chair of the school’s fundraising campaign. “At a time when the state is focused on prevention and response to sexual assaults on campus, allowing Mr. Cosby to continue to represent our state university sends the exact wrong message,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley wrote in a letter to the college.
Meanwhile, more venues have canceled their upcoming Cosby shows—some seven in all. He is still scheduled to perform two sets at New York’s Tarrytown Music Hall on Dec. 6, though late last week, his management contacted ticketholders to the sold-out show and offered refunds to anyone who didn’t want to attend. According to The Journal News, at least one-third of those tickets have now been refunded. If anyone wants to see Bill Cosby perform comedy amid all of this, there are plenty of seats available.