Bill Cosby, freed from prison but still trailed by accusations that he was a sexual predator, was sued on Thursday by a former Playboy model who says he drugged and sexually assaulted her more than 50 years ago.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles by Victoria Valentino, 80, accuses Mr. Cosby of assault and says it occurred in that city in 1969 after she and a friend met him for a meal in a restaurant.
The suit was filed under a new California law that has temporarily lifted the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases.
Valentino, a longtime public critic of Mr. Cosby and a supporter of other accusers who has attended court during previous legal cases against the entertainer, said in an interview that she was grateful the new law had made it possible to take legal action.
“This new law that has gone into effect, never in a million years did I expect to see tangible justice,” Ms. Valentino said.
A spokesman for Mr. Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, said that Ms. Valentino had made her accusations “without any proof or facts,” and that her statements contained “inconsistencies.”
He also criticized the so-called look-back windows that have taken effect in California and other states, asserting that they are “a sheer violation of all American’s Constitutional rights.” Defendants, he said, had trouble marshaling evidence because of the passage of so much time.
“What graveyard can Mr. Cosby visit, in order to dig up potential witnesses to testify on his behalf?” Mr. Wyatt said in a statement.
Mr. Cosby, 85, was convicted in 2018 in Pennsylvania of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against a woman, Andrea Constand, to whom he had been a mentor at Temple University.
But he was released from prison in 2021, after serving nearly three years of a three-to-10-year sentence, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction, ruling that a “non-prosecution agreement” with a previous prosecutor meant that Mr. Cosby should not have been charged in the case.
Last year in a civil case brought by a woman, Judy Huth, a jury in California found that he sexually assaulted her in 1975, when as a 16-year-old girl she accepted his invitation to join him at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Six other women last year filed civil suits against Mr. Cosby under a similar look-back provision in New York law. Dozens of other women have not sued, but have come forward in recent years with their own accounts of sexual misconduct.
Mr. Cosby has consistently denied the accusations, asserting that, if he had sexual encounters with anyone, it had always been consensual.
The lawsuit said Ms. Valentino met Mr. Cosby in 1969 during an audition, when she spoke to him in his studio trailer.
Later that year, he approached her at a restaurant at a time when she was still upset and coming to terms with the drowning death of her 6-year-old son, according to the lawsuit. He gave her his telephone number and later sent a car to drive Ms. Valentino and a friend to a restaurant on the Sunset Strip, according to the court papers.
At dinner, the lawsuit says, Mr. Cosby gave her two pills and afterward, he drove Ms. Valentino and her friend to a nearby office where Ms. Valentino passed out and was assaulted when she awoke.
“I do believe that there is generational trauma that has to be addressed,” Ms. Valentino said of the prospect of facing Mr. Cosby in court. “When we get raped, it’s not like our car is stolen. We don’t get it back. It gets passed down to our children.”
Jeff Anderson, the lawyer for Ms. Valentino, who also represents one of the women who has sued Mr. Cosby in New York, said the new California law “gives her the chance and others like her to take some action.”
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