Los Angeles Times

Cosby, now free, faces suit

L.A. artist says actor drugged and raped her in an Atlantic City hotel room in 1990.


PHILADELPH­IA — A prominent Bill Cosby accuser filed suit Thursday against the actor over a 1990 hotel room encounter in Atlantic City, N.J., before the state’s two-year window to file older sexual assault claims expires.

Los Angeles artist Lili Bernard told the Associated Press that she was motivated in part by Cosby’s recent release from prison. The 84year-old Cosby 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 potential 10year sentence.

Bernard, 57, says Cosby drugged and raped her in a hotel room after promising to mentor her on his top-ranked TV show. She was 26 at the time.

New Jersey’s two-year window allowing people to file sexual assault lawsuits that would otherwise be considered too old to pursue closes next month.

“When Bill Cosby was released, it re-traumatize­d me, it terrified me. I was really horrified for any woman or girl that would come into contact with him,” Bernard told the AP. “The Pennsylvan­ia Supreme Court let a predator back on the streets.”

The Pennsylvan­ia trial judge had classified Cosby as a sexually violent predator subject to lifetime supervisio­n, but that finding became moot when the conviction was overturned, leaving Cosby free of any reporting requiremen­ts.

Cosby’s spokespers­on, Andrew Wyatt, said that “look-back” windows such as the one passed in New Jersey violate a person’s dueprocess rights.

“This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the floodgates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence,” Wyatt said, noting that Cosby maintains his innocence and would fight allegation­s to “the highest court in these United States of America.”

Prosecutor­s in suburban Philadelph­ia must decide soon whether to appeal the reversal of his conviction in their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A jury had convicted Cosby of sexually assaulting Temple University sports administra­tor Andrea Constand at his 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 an earlier prosecutor that he would never be charged.

Cosby settled a civil lawsuit with Constand for $3.4 million.

His insurer, after the conviction, settled a defamation lawsuit filed by seven accusers in Massachuse­tts for an undisclose­d amount.

The AP typically does not identify people who say they are sexual assault victims without their permission, which Constand and Bernard have granted.

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