Nine women file Nevada sexual assault lawsuit against Bill Cosby

Complaint was filed after Nevada passed a law lifting the statute of limitations for civil cases about sexual assault.

Bill Cosby arrives for a sentencing hearing following his sexual assault conviction at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Pa.
Bill Cosby has faced multiple sexual assault allegations, some dating as far back as 1965 [File: Matt Rourke/AP Photo]

A lawsuit in Nevada has become the latest to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault, adding to a string of high-profile allegations against the former United States TV star.

On Thursday, nine women stepped forward in a lawsuit claiming Cosby – once known as “America’s Dad” – drugged and assaulted them between 1979 and 1992.

The complaint, filed in the US District Court of Nevada, describes alleged attacks in dressing rooms, hotels and Cosby’s various homes. It seeks damages for sexual assault, battery and false imprisonment, among other crimes.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a change in Nevada law, removing the statute of limitations for adult sexual assault survivors pursuing civil cases.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse after sentencing in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 25, 2018.
Comedian Bill Cosby had been sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in Pennsylvania before his conviction was overturned [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Previously, adult victims had only a two-year window to file civil charges. But on June 2, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed a bill entitled Justice for Victims of Crime into law – part of a nationwide trend to lift certain statutes of limitations for sexual assault allegations.

“For years, I have fought for survivors of sexual assault, and today is the first time I will be able to fight for myself,” said Lise-Lotte Lublin, a school teacher and former model who has long pushed for statutes of limitations to be broadened in sexual violence cases.

In a statement released through her lawyers, Lublin celebrated the passage of the June 2 law.

“With the new law change, I now have the ability to take my assailant, Bill Cosby, to court. My journey has just begun, but I am grateful for this opportunity to find justice,” she said.

Initially, inspired by other women coming forward, Lublin filed a complaint against Cosby in Las Vegas in late 2014. But she soon discovered her case could not proceed because the statute of limitations had expired.

She alleged that Cosby had summoned her to the Las Vegas Hilton hotel in 1989, on the premise of practicing acting techniques. Once there, she claims that Cosby gave her spiked alcohol to “help her relax”. But she quickly lost consciousness, only reawakening in her own bed later on, not knowing how she got there.

Lublin has told US media that she recognised her experiences in the stories of other women, particularly during the #MeToo movement.

A woman speaks into a microphone at a court hearing, while a second woman leans over to watch
Lise-Lotte Lublin, left, testifies that she was drugged and assaulted by Bill Cosby in Carson City, Nevada, with lawyer Gloria Allred, right [File: Cathleen Allison/AP Photo]

More than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, harassment or rape, including through the use of drugs. One of the nine women in Thursday’s complaint alleged Cosby used non-alcoholic cider to drug and rape her in a Nevada hotel room, for instance.

Another woman in Los Angeles received $500,000 last year after she claimed Cosby sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16. That suit was also made possible by California’s decision to lift the statute of limitation on civil cases for sexual assault.

But in 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a high-profile criminal conviction against Cosby that had seen him serve three years in prison.

The court argued that Cosby’s “due process rights” had been violated when a prosecutor gave the TV star assurances he would not be charged if he testified. After he did so – explaining that he gave women quaaludes before sex – the testimony later became key evidence in the criminal case that was overturned.

Cosby has maintained his innocence, and his lawyers and publicity team have blasted the legislative movement to widen or eliminate statutes of limitations in sexual assault civil cases.

“These judges and lawmakers are consistently allowing these civil suits to flood their dockets, knowing that these women are not fighting for victims but for their addiction to massive amounts of media attention and greed,” Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt said on Wednesday.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies