California: A California jury has found comedian Bill Cosby was liable for sexually assaulting a woman at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager.
The jury awarded Judy Huth $500,000 ($717,000 AUD) in damages for emotional distress she said she suffered years later when multiple allegations against Cosby from other women helped stir up memories of her interaction with the comedian.
Huth testified that the comedian invited her and a friend to the Playboy Mansion when she was 16, and he was 37, and forced her to perform a sex act. She told jurors that Cosby took her hand and used it to masturbate his penis.
Cosby, who did not appear in person at the trial, denied the allegation. In video of a deposition shown to jurors, Cosby said he did not remember Huth. But he said the incident could not have happened because he would not have pursued sexual contact at that time with someone who was under age 18.
Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean challenged Huth’s account throughout the trial, including her revised timeline.
When the lawsuit was filed in December 2014, Huth said the incident occurred in 1974, when she was 15. She told jurors she recently concluded that she had been mistaken about the year and now believes it happened in 1975. Huth is now 64.
The civil trial in California took place 11 months after Cosby was freed from prison when Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out his sexual assault conviction in a different criminal case there.
Cosby, 84, is best known for his role as the lovable husband and father in the 1980s television comedy series The Cosby Show, earning him the nickname “America’s Dad.” But his family-friendly reputation was shattered after more than 50 women accused him of sexual assaults over nearly five decades.