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Bill Cosby sexually abused 16-year-old in 1975, jury in civil trial finds

Judy Huth and her attorneys celebrated on June 21, after a jury found Bill Cosby guilty of sexually assaulting her in 1975 when she was 16 years old. (Video: AP)
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A California jury on Tuesday found that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1975.

The decision in the civil case is the latest defeat in a long legal saga for the 84-year-old comedian, who was once one of America’s most beloved entertainers but has faced dozens of assault allegations over the past two decades. Cosby was freed from prison nearly a year ago after his 2018 sexual assault conviction was thrown out, overturning the results of a high-profile #MeToo-era case. Cosby’s spokesperson said Tuesday that he plans to appeal the latest decision.

Outside the Santa Monica courthouse, Judy Huth, now 64, celebrated the culmination of her years-long legal battle.

“I was elated,” Huth told reporters, describing her reaction to the verdict. “Seriously, it’s been so many years, so many tears, just a long time coming.”

Jurors awarded Huth $500,000 in damages and found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Huth, who was then a minor. One of Huth’s attorneys, the prominent feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, said in a statement that her client “won real change” by showing that Cosby “should be held accountable for what he did to her.”

While not a criminal ruling, the successful civil case “shows there is another avenue of justice,” Allred said in a brief post-trial appearance.

Cosby did not attend the proceedings, and he has denied Huth’s allegations. His attorneys did not respond to a request for comment on the outcome.

Huth filed her lawsuit in 2014. She first met Cosby in April 1975, when he was filming a movie in San Marino, Calif., court documents say.

This month, Huth testified that Cosby molested her after he gave her and her friend Donna Samuelson a tour of the Playboy Mansion and game room, the Associated Press reported. Samuelson, who was 17 at the time, took photos that evening and was a witness in the trial.

Huth said the verdict is vindication for her and other women who have come forward with similar stories of abuse.

The civil suit was the first case against Cosby to reach trial since his June 2021 release from prison, where he spent three years after he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand one night in 2004. But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the conviction and ruled that Cosby should not have faced the charges because a former prosecutor had promised in 2005 not to pursue a criminal case.

“I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence,” Cosby tweeted shortly after his release.

Constand’s case was the only one that led to criminal charges, but at least 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault and harassment. The accusations span the mid-1960s to the late 2000s.