LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Playboy model who alleges Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her and another woman at his home in 1969 sued him Thursday under a new California law that suspends the statute of limitations on sex abuse claims.
In her lawsuit, Victoria Valentino, 80, says she was an actress and singer 54 years ago, when she met Cosby, now 85. The comedian and actor later approached her at a Los Angeles café, where he spotted her crying over the recent drowning death of her 6-year-old son.
The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.
Cosby offered to pay for a spa treatment for Valentino and a friend, and then sent a chauffeured car to pick the women up for dinner. That evening at a steakhouse, Cosby gave them each a pill, she said in the court filing.
“Here! Take this!” the lawsuit alleges Cosby said to them. “It will make you feel better. It will make us ALL feel better.”
Cosby then drove the women to his house, where Valentino passed out on a couch, and later woke up and witnessed him sexually assaulting her unnamed friend, according to the lawsuit. The court documents allege Cosby then “engaged in forced sexual intercourse” with Valentino while she was incapacitated from the drug.
Valentino’s allegations come on the heels of lawsuits last year by six Cosby accusers in New York under a similar provision known as a “lookback” law that allows adults to file sexual abuse cases for allegations that had fallen outside the statute of limitations.
The former “Cosby Show” star, who has been accused of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment by at least 60 women, has denied all allegations involving sex crimes. He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era — and spent nearly three years at a state prison near Philadelphia before a higher court threw out the conviction and released him in 2021.
His spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, said Thursday that Valentino’s lawsuit lacks “any proof or facts” and that so-called lookback laws violate constitutional rights aimed at protecting crime victims and “those that are accused of a crime.”
“What graveyard can Mr. Cosby visit, in order to dig up potential witnesses to testify on his behalf?” Wyatt asked in a statement. “America is continuing to see that this is a formula to make sure that no more Black Men in America accumulate the American Dream that was secured by Mr. Cosby.”
The lawsuit in LA County Superior Court was filed nearly two years after Cosby left prison when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction. They found he gave incriminating testimony in a deposition about the encounter only after believing he had immunity from prosecution. The trial judge and an intermediate appeals court had found no evidence of such immunity.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles jury awarded $500,000 to a woman who said Cosby sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion when she was a teenager in 1975.
Seven other accusers received a settlement from Cosby’s insurers in the wake of the Pennsylvania conviction over a defamation lawsuit they had filed in Massachusetts. Their lawsuit said that Cosby and his agents disparaged them in denying their allegations of abuse.
Valentino’s lawsuit requests a jury trial and seeks unspecified punitive damages.