Bill Cosby‘s legal troubles are apparently far from over. The 84-year-old has been sued for sexual assault by actress Lili Bernard, who claims she was drugged and raped by her mentor in 1990. Cosby, who was freed from prison earlier this year, maintains his innocence.
“I have waited a long time to be able to pursue my case in court and I look forward to being heard and to hold Cosby accountable for what he did to me. Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain and shame every day of my life,” Bernard, who is being represented by Merson Law, PLLC, says in a statement. She came forward as an alleged victim of Cosby’s years ago.
The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey federal court on Thursday. It’s pursuant to the state’s two-year look back window that allows sexual abuse survivors to bring civil claims regardless of when an assault occurred.
Bernard met the once-beloved actor on set of The Cosby Show where he offered to be her mentor for her acting career. According to the lawsuit obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, Cosby “looked upon Ms. Bernard as if she were his daughter,” emphasizing “that chastity was a virtue, warned her of the sexual pressures of Hollywood” and said she can call him “Daddy.”
During a mentoring session at a Trump Taj Mahal suite, Bernard alleges Cosby made her a non-alcoholic beverage, but after drinking it, she “began to feel symptoms of dizziness, an urge to vomit, and weakness,” according to the document. She claims she went in and out of consciousness, awaking at one point “to find Mr. Cosby naked atop her.” She remembers telling Cosby “no.” The morning after the alleged rape, Bernard claims Cosby handed her money and secured her transportation back to New York.
“Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted, battered, and drugged Ms. Bernard on additional occasions,” the lawsuit alleges.
Bernard claims Cosby threatened to sue her for defamation if she went to the police and said he would “erase” her if she reported the alleged abuse. He supposedly threatened her career. She claims to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, nightmares, severe physical pain “and multiple other permanent injuries.” She’s seeking “an amount no less than” $25 million in damages.
Cosby’s rep Andrew Wyatt hit back at the lawsuit.
“These look back provisions are unconstitutional and they are a sheer violation of an individual’s constitutional rights and denies that individual of their due process,” Wyatt tells Yahoo Entertainment. “This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the floodgates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence, proof, truth and/or facts, in order to substantiate their alleged allegations. Mr. Cosby continues to maintain steadfast in his innocence and will vigorously fight any alleged allegations waged against him and is willing and able to take this fight to the highest court in these United States of America.”
Cosby served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. His 2018 conviction was overturned in June.