A woman named Joan Tarshis has filed a lawsuit against actor Bill Cosby, alleging that he sexually assaulted her over 50 years ago when she was a young comedy writer. The lawsuit was filed under a soon-to-expire New York law that allowed victims of sexual abuse a one-year window to make claims that would otherwise be barred by time limits. Tarshis initially came forward with her allegations in 2014, and they are now repeated in the new lawsuit.
According to Tarshis, Cosby drugged her and forced her to perform oral sex on him in 1969 or 1970. She also claims that he drugged and raped her during another encounter a year or two later. Tarshis met Cosby through a mutual friend while he was starring in “The Bill Cosby Show” and was living in California at the time of the first assault.
A spokesperson for Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, did not address the specifics of Tarshis’s claims but expressed frustration with the ongoing lawsuits against Cosby and other celebrities under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. Cosby, who is now 86 years old, has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than 60 women. He has consistently denied all allegations involving sex crimes.
Tarshis was among the first accusers to publicly speak out against Cosby. She previously sued him in Massachusetts, along with six other women, for defamation after Cosby branded them as liars. The cases were settled in 2019. The new lawsuit filed by Tarshis alleges assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment, seeking unspecified damages.
The Adult Survivors Act, under which Tarshis filed her lawsuit, is set to expire next week. Recently, music executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid was sued by an executive who alleges that Reid sexually assaulted her in 2001. Sean “Diddy” Combs has also faced allegations of rape and abuse, while Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has been named in a lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by Tarshis against Cosby adds to the numerous legal battles and accusations surrounding the actor.