Bill Cosby faces fresh lawsuit from the woman who first accused him of rape

Bill Cosby is facing a fresh lawsuit over an alleged sexual assault from the woman who first publicly accused him of rape in 2014.

The new suit claims that Cosby drugged and raped the actress and former comedy writer Joan Tarshis on multiple occasions during the 1970s, the first of which when she was 19 and visiting the set of The Cosby Show.

In documents obtained by TMZ, Tarshis claims she was invited to the television studio via a mutual friend and was asked to go into Cosby’s private bungalow on the lot for a writing session. There, the suit alleges, she accepted a drink, passed out and woke up while Cosby was sexually assaulting her.

Bill Cosby attends the sentencing in his sexual assault trial on September 24, 2018 (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The suit outlines a second occasion around a year later, when Cosby invited Tarshis to a music event that he was appearing at. Tarshis says she reluctantly agreed to go, but was given another drink, before losing consciousness. She says she woke up in bed, naked, next to Cosby, feeling she had been penetrated vaginally and anally.

Tarshis’ suit alleges assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment and is seeking damages of an unspecified amount.

Cosby’s representatives have not responded to invitations to comment.

In 2014, Tarshis appeared on CNN Tonight [via Yahoo], accusing Cosby of rape. Tarshis had also told a freelance reporter in the early 1980s about the alleged incidents, but the story was never reported.

The comedian and actor was released from prison in June 2021 after a 2018 sex assault conviction was overturned on a technicality.

He was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting accuser Andrea Constand and vowed to serve all 10 years of his sentence rather than acknowledge any remorse.

Last year five women filed a new lawsuit against Cosby over alleged sexual assault. Representatives of the actor have denied the legitimacy of those claims.

Lisa Bloom, an lawyer who represents one of Cosby’s accusers, said in response to the overturned conviction in June 2021 that the ruling didn’t mean that he was innocent of what he’d been convicted of.

“It’s important to understand that nowhere in the 79-page decision did the Pennsylvania Supreme Court say Bill Cosby is innocent,” she said [via Sky News]. “They did not say that he is exonerated. They did not say that there was insufficient evidence to convict him.”

“Instead, they said that he should never have been prosecuted in the first place because a prosecutor many years ago, back in 2005, promised that he would not prosecute him.”

“And a subsequent prosecutor then came in and decided to do it. And ultimately, Cosby was convicted. But that was the only reason in the court’s decision and nobody should take this as a finding of innocence.”

Meanwhile, the five women who had previously alleged that the disgraced actor and comedian had abused them, who filed a lawsuit last December, are Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd [via The Guardian].

He was hit with another lawsuit in October this year, accusing him of the rape of Donna Motsinger in 1972. The woman, who worked at a Bay Area restaurant during that period, claims that she “knew she had been drugged and raped by Bill Cosby”. Cosby’s team did not respond to the allegation.

Meanwhile, in June last year a jury found Cosby guilty of the sexual battery of a 16-year-old girl in the ’70s [via Vanity Fair]. Cosby denied the allegations. The claimant was awarded $500,000.

Last year, it emerged that Cosby had plans to return to live comedy in the future.

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