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Five women sue Bill Cosby for sexual assault and abuse

The accusers include two former actors on The Cosby Show

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
Photo: Mark Makela (Getty Images)

Five more women, including two former actors on The Cosby Show, have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and abuse, Entertainment Weekly reports. On Monday, the group filed a civil suit citing instances of assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment by Cosby that the women say date back decades.

Complainants Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd have all previously spoken out with allegations against Cosby. Their latest suit was filed under New York’s newly-minted Adult Survivors Act, which allows sexual abuse survivors a year-long window to sue regardless of whether the statute of limitations on their allegations has come and gone or not.

“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,” Jordan Merson, an attorney for the five plaintiffs, told EW.

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NBCUniversal Media, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and the Carsey-Werner Company are also named as defendants in the lawsuit based on allegations of negligence. The filing states that “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.” This includes the power, fame, and prestige “given to him” by the aforementioned companies, which the lawsuit asserts allowed Cosby “to misuse his enormous power in such a nefarious, horrific way.”

Both Bernard and Tirl previously performed alongside Cosby on The Cosby Show— Bernard, who played a patient of Cosby’s character on the sitcom, claims that the disgraced comedian drugged and raped her in New Jersey and Nevada in 1990. Tirl, who played a police officer in the series, accuses Cosby of touching her inappropriately in her dressing room in 1989.

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Ladd’s allegation dates the furthest back— she accuses Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in 1969. Gittens alleges that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in either 1989 or 1990, while Thompson says Cosby touched her inappropriately in 1989, the same year as Tirl.

In the past decade, more than 50 women have come forward with similar accusations against Cosby, the majority in 2014. In 2015, Cosby was charged with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. He was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 2021 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court controversially overturned the conviction, citing a violation of due process by the prosecution.

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Cosby has continually denied all allegations against him. In a statement shared with EW, his representation Andrew Wyatt says: “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.”