the law

Bill Cosby Loses Sex-Battery Case

Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Bill Cosby’s felony sex-assault charges may have been overturned by a Pennsylvania court in May 2021, but on June 21 the former TV dad was found liable in a Los Angeles civil case involving an underage girl and the infamous Playboy Mansion. Judy Huth, now 64, accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager in 1975.

In Huth’s original 2014 complaint, she said the former comedian intentionally inflicted emotional distress and sexually assaulted her when she was just 16 years old. She said the two met on the set of a movie, Let’s Do It Again, which was filming in a local park in San Marino, California. The comedian supposedly invited Huth and a friend to a tennis club and then a private home days later where they played games while he served them several alcoholic drinks before taking them to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Huth alleged that Cosby, now 84, told both her and her friend to say they were 19 if anyone asked at the Mansion. It was there, she said, that he took the teen to a bedroom and sexually assaulted her.

During her testimony, Huth became emotional at times, saying that her father used to listen to Cosby’s comedy albums. She told the court she was distraught over trying to reconcile that someone she admired was the same man who was forcing her to perform sex acts on him.

“I felt duped, fooled,” Huth said. “I was let down. I was hurt.”

The jury, which included eight women and four men, believed Huth’s story after hearing ten days of testimony and awarded her $500,000 in damages. But because it’s a civil case and not a criminal one, Cosby will not face any jail time. He has already served just under three years in a Pennsylvania prison after being convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault in 2018 before his conviction was overturned on appeal.

Since the mid-2000s, more than 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of drugging and/or raping them over several decades.

Most of Cosby’s accusers have been unable to pursue criminal complaints because of statutes of limitation in various states. What made Huth’s civil suit unique is that she was allegedly a minor at the time of the incident. California law has a provision that extends the time frame to pursue cases like these, at least civilly, when the victim is a minor.

Cosby was not present in Los Angeles for the most recent trial, having invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. His spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, said that his legal team would be filing an appeal and that Cosby has no recollection of ever meeting Huth, even though a photo of the two at the Playboy Mansion was entered as evidence.

Huth, who said she buried the trauma for years before being able to come forward, said outside the courthouse after winning, “I feel good. I feel vindicated.”

This is the first civil case accusing Cosby of sexual assault to actually reach trial. The comedian has been sued by several other women over the past few years, 11 of whom agreed to settlements. Cosby has denied all allegations against him.

Last year, Lili Bernard filed a civil case against Cosby in New Jersey. The one-time Cosby Show actress and artist accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in a hotel in Atlantic City in 1990, when she was 26.

Bernard, who attended both of Cosby’s criminal trials, was also at Huth’s trial. “Her coming forward inspired others to find their voices,” Berhard said outside the court. “Judy Huth is a hero!”

Bill Cosby Loses Sex-Battery Case