A California court sentenced, on Tuesday June 21, Bill Cosby, fallen glory of American television, to pay 500,000 dollars (475,000 euros) in damages to Judy Huth, sexually assaulted in 1975 when she was 16 years old .
The jurors considered that the comedian had voluntarily caused harmful sexual contact with Mme Huth, despite knowing that she was under 18.
Bill Cosby, now 84, did not attend the hearings in person, which lasted two weeks in a Santa Monica court. The defense of Judy Huth, now 64, claimed during the trial that the comedian, met on a film set, had made her drink a large quantity of alcohol before taking her to the Playboy Mansion in his friend Hugh Hefner and sexually assaulting him in a room of the mansion, in Los Angeles.
“Immediately after she sat down [sur le lit], he jumped… He tried to slip his hands into his panties”told the jury Nathan Goldberg, Mr.me Hugh. When the girl told him she was on her period, Bill Cosby showed his penis and forced her to masturbate it, Ms.e Goldberg.
No criminal investigation
Bill Cosby’s defenders denied any aggression on the part of their client and questioned the events recounted by the complainant, who had started by saying that the facts had taken place in 1974. They also pointed to supposed inconsistencies in her account, and in particular that she had remained, with a 17-year-old friend who accompanied her, twelve hours in the property after the aggression described.
No criminal proceedings were taken as Judy Huth filed a complaint in 2014, after the statute of limitations had expired. Memories of her client came flooding back with the media coverage of other sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Ms.e Goldberg.
In California, the law allows civil lawsuits to be launched for adults who remember sexual assaults during their childhood, even if the statute of limitations has passed for years.
Only valid conviction to date
This civil decision is the only valid conviction to date targeting the former actor who has been accused of various sexual assaults by dozens of women. Convicted of sexual assault in another case in Pennsylvania in 2018 and imprisoned, he was released in June 2021 following the cancellation of his conviction for procedural flaw.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, then the rejection of an appeal on this case by the American Supreme Court, had been seen by many as a snub for the #metoo movement against violence against women. Bill Cosby has embodied for millions of Americans, for years, the ideal father in the series Cosby Show.
An actress who had starred in the series, Lili Bernard, filed a civil complaint in October 2021 against Mr. Cosby, accusing him of having drugged and raped her more than thirty years ago. She is claiming $125 million in damages in a New Jersey court.
In total, about sixty women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of being a sexual predator, who used alcohol and sleeping pills to abuse his victims for decades. The latter, a central figure in American popular culture at the end of the 20the century, has always denied, assuring that the sexual relations were consensual.