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New York Survivor Law Deadline Prompts Accuser of Bill Cosby to File New Lawsuit

A woman who accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her over 50 years ago has filed a lawsuit against the actor under a New York law that gives victims of sexual abuse a one-year “window” for claims that would otherwise be barred by time limits.

Joan Tarshis initially came forward with allegations against Cosby in 2014 that are repeated in the new lawsuit. Tarshis said Cosby drugged her and forced her to perform oral sex on him in 1969 or 1970, and then drugged and raped her during another encounter a year or two later.

Tarshis, a New York resident who was living in California at the time of the first assault, had met Cosby through a mutual friend while he was starring in “The Bill Cosby Show,” according to the lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in New York City.

A spokesperson for Cosby did not address the specifics of Tarshis‘s claims.

Cosby, 86, has faced accusations of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than 60 women. He has consistently denied all allegations involving sex crimes. He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era and spent nearly three years in a state prison near Philadelphia before a higher court overturned the conviction and released him in 2021.

Tarshis was among the first accusers to speak publicly about Cosby, whom she met when she was 19 and just breaking into comedy writing. An interview she did with CNN newsman Don Lemon soon after she came forward drew a flurry of attention on social media and an apology from Lemon. While on-air, the host suggested Tarshis could have bitten Cosby on his genitals during the first assault, something Tarshis said she hadn’t thought of.

Tarshis previously sued Cosby in Massachusetts where Cosby had a home. She was one of seven women who filed defamation claims after Cosby labeled them liars, and the cases were settled in 2019.

The new lawsuit alleges assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment, seeking unspecified damages.

In it, Tarshis said Cosby invited her to meet with him at the studio lot where he was filming his show, under the pretense of working on a skit she was writing. Once in his bungalow, Tarshis said she fell unconscious after accepting a drink from Cosby, and awoke to find him undressing her before forcing her to perform oral sex.

“Ms. Tarshis was mortified and feared for her life,” and returned to New York without telling anyone what happened, according to the lawsuit.

She said she lost consciousness in a limousine Cosby had arranged for them and awoke the next morning in a bed next to Cosby, who she said had undressed and raped her.

The Adult Survivors Act, under which Tarshis filed the lawsuit, is set to expire next week.

Other prominent figures, including music executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Sean “Diddy” Combs, have also faced similar allegations.

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