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Actress Says Cosby Raped Her in New Lawsuit

Star denies allegations by Lili Bernard
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2021 4:35 PM CDT
New Lawsuit Says Bill Cosby Drugged, Raped Actress in 1990
Lili Bernard walks out of the courtroom in 2017 during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pa. Bernard filed suit against Cosby on Thursday.   (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Newser) – When Lili Bernard met Bill Cosby on the set of his TV show, she says, he offered to mentor her. The star did treat the actress "as if she were his daughter," a new lawsuit says, stressing "that chastity was a virtue, warned her of the sexual pressures of Hollywood," and told Bernard she could call him "Daddy." During a mentoring session in Cosby's suit in the Trump Taj Mahal, the suit says, Bernard began to feel ill and dizzy, then began to slip into and out of consciousness, Yahoo Entertainment reports. She woke up to find Cosby on top of her, naked, raping her, the suit says.

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Cosby denies the accusation, which Bernard has made before, though the suit was just filed Thursday in New Jersey. A Cosby representative attacked the state law that allows such suits: under it, civil claims can be brought no matter when the plaintiff says the assault took place. "These look-back provisions are unconstitutional, and they are a sheer violation of an individual's constitutional rights," Andrew Wyatt said. "Mr. Cosby continues to maintain steadfast in his innocence and will vigorously fight" the allegations, he added.

Bernard's federal lawsuit says other assaults followed. The actress remembers telling Cosby "no" when he first began to undress her, according to the suit. The filing says the star threatened to ruin Bernard's acting career—"erase" her, per NJ.com. Bernard said she suffers from "severe emotional pain," including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. "I have waited a long time to be able to pursue my case in court," Bernard said in a statement, adding, "Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain and shame every day of my life."

Cosby's team pointed out that prosecutors declined to file charges based on Bernard's allegations in 2015, per WPVI. The longtime TV star was released from prison in June after more than two years behind bars when a sexual assault conviction in Pennsylvania was tossed out. When he was convicted in 2018, Bernard was among his accusers who cheered the verdict, saying, "I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored." (Read more Bill Cosby stories.)

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