PHILADELPHIA – A prominent Bill Cosby accuser filed a lawsuit Thursday against the actor over a 1990 hotel room encounter in Atlantic City, New Jersey, before the state’s two-year deadline for filing sexual assault complaints expires. previous.
Los Angeles artist Lili Bernard told The Associated Press that she was motivated in part by Cosby’s recent release from prison. Cosby, 84, has been free since June, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction in another case on procedural grounds.
He had served more than two years of a possible 10-year sentence.
Bernard, 57, says Cosby drugged and raped her in a hotel room after promising to be her mentor on his top-rated TV show. She was 26 at the time.
New Jersey’s two-year window for filing sexual assault lawsuits that would otherwise be considered too old closes next month.
“When they released Bill Cosby, he retraumatized me, he terrified me. He was really horrified by any woman or girl who came into contact with him, ”Bernard told the AP. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court let a predator return to the streets.”
The Pennsylvania trial judge had classified Cosby as a sexually violent predator subject to lifelong supervision, but that finding became moot when the conviction was overturned, leaving Cosby free of any reporting requirement.
Cosby’s spokesman said so-called “flashbacks” like the one passed in New Jersey violate a person’s due process rights.
“This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening the floodgates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence,” said spokesman Andrew Wyatt, noting that Cosby maintains his innocence and would fight the charges before “the court. highest of these United States of America “.
Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia must decide soon whether to appeal the reversal of his conviction in his case to the United States Supreme Court.
A jury convicted Cosby of sexually assaulting Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand at her home in January 2004 after incapacitating her with three blue pills. Cosby was arrested in 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
The state Supreme Court said the case should not have gone to trial because Cosby believed he had a binding promise from a previous prosecutor that he would never be charged.
Cosby settled a civil lawsuit with Constand for $ 3.4 million. His insurer, after conviction, settled a defamation lawsuit brought by seven accusers in Massachusetts for an undisclosed amount.
The AP generally does not identify people who claim to be victims of sexual assault without their permission, which both Constand and Bernard have given.
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