Bill Cosby faces new defamation lawsuit over sexual abuse denial
A Pennsylvania woman, who as a teen appeared on a children’s TV show with Bill Cosby in the 1980s, is suing him for defamation, citing denials by his attorney and wife of allegations the comedian repeatedly sexually abused her.
Renita Hill’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, marks the third time in recent months that Cosby has been sued for defamation over his camp’s repeated denials of alleged victims’ accusations.
A Massachusetts-based federal judge last week refused to toss out one defamation lawsuit and agreed with an attorney for three women that statements by Cosby’s lawyers and public relations representatives were effectively the words of Cosby.
Hill is one of about 50 women who have accused the legendary comedian of sexual assault or abuse over decades. Last week, attorney Gloria Allred deposed Cosby in connection with a lawsuit alleging he molested a 15-year-old girl in 1974.
Hill in her lawsuit alleges she was drugged with something in her drink several times and then sexually assaulted at hotels in Atlantic City, New York and Denver. Those allegations echo a pattern reported by many of the alleged victims.
Cosby, her attorneys allege, flew her to meet him repeatedly and paid for her education. When she went on a Pennsylvania TV program last November and made the allegation against Cosby, her lawyers alleged Cosby attorney Martin Singer made “retaliatory statements” and inflicted emotional distress.
Hill alleges in the lawsuit that Cosby arranged for a part for her in the show “Picture Pages.” The abuse allegedly occurred from 1983 to 1987, according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges that, when Cosby finished his show, she would go to his room, where he handed her a glass and told her “to drink that.” She said she “would lose consciousness and wake up in her room the next day, often nude, disheveled, confused and disoriented, according to lawsuit, first obtained by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Initially, the suit alleges, she figured she had had too much to drink, but soon realized “she was being assaulted.”
The lawsuit cites as defamation a statement by a Cosby attorney that does not name Hill but referred to claims by women that are becoming “increasingly ridiculous.” The suit also notes, Cosby’s wife and manager, Camille Cosby, in a letter compared the women’s allegations to allegations in other cases that were later discredited.
The defamation lawsuits circumvent time constraints for filing sexual misconduct suits.
Three women have sued Cosby in Massachusetts for defamation citing statements by his lawyer and publicist denying their accusations of sexual abuse. Model Janice Dickinson has also sued Cosby based on alleged defamatory statements rebuffing her charge that he sexually assaulted her in the 1980s. Cosby attorneys in court papers have vigorously denied the allegations.
Lisa Bloom, Dickinson’s attorney, said that a 2005 deposition of the comedian shows Cosby admitted under oath a decade ago to the “very conduct Janice Dickinson has accused him of -- sedating women to make them sexually compliant.”
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