Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a teenager in 1975, civil jury rules; has to pay him $500,000

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A California jury has found that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager. Huth, now 64, was awarded $500,000 after four days of bizarre deliberations. Although Cosby was accused of sexual misconduct by 60 women, it was the first civil case to go to trial. Cosby, who denies a sexual encounter took place, did not attend the trial in Santa Monica.

According to Tuesday’s verdict, jurors believe Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual touching, that he reasonably believed Huth was under 18, and that the actor was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor, according to the The Switzerland Times. It’s a big setback for the once-beloved comedian, who was released from prison last year. However, his spokesperson called the verdict a “great victory”.

“It was a huge win for us because they [were] looking for millions of dollars. This amount will not cover legal costs and we will appeal this case. However, Mr. Cosby will not pay punitive damages,” Andrew Wyatt told Yahoo Entertainment.

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Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975, a jury has heard. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jurors began deliberating on Thursday. On Friday, a note was sent to the judge regarding a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that made deliberations difficult. By the end of the day, jurors had answered eight of the nine questions on their verdict form, but were unsure whether Cosby acted “maliciously, oppressively or fraudulently,” which could trigger punitive damages. One of the 12 jurors was later excused due to a prior recognizance approved by the judge. A substitute juror took the place of the person and the group had to start from scratch on Monday. The jury got stuck on the same question.

Huth, who was 16 at the time of the incident, testified that Cosby sexually assaulted her in a bedroom and forced her to perform a sex act on him. She said she met the artist when he was shooting a scene for the movie let’s do it again. He invited her and a friend to the Playboy Mansion. Cosby was a regular there as he was best friends with Hugh Hefner, who had his own #MeToo moment last year. Cosby’s alleged predatory behavior at the mansion was featured in Secrets of Playboy.

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According to Huth, she “was scared” when Cosby, then 37, ushered her into a bedroom in the mansion.

“He tried to lean me back. He was leaning me back, then he tried to come over to me and kiss me. Then he put his hands under my navel where my high pants are, and he tried to put his hands on my pants”, she testified, explaining that she was “shocked”.

“I was freaking out and told him I was on my period,” she said, adding that it was a lie. Huth testified that Cosby pulled down his pants and forced his hand on his penis.

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“Certainly with force. It was not at all what I wanted. My eyes were closed at the time. I was panicking,” she sobbed before the jury.

Cosby’s attorneys called Huth’s story a “complete and total fabrication” and questioned why she stayed at the mansion for hours after the alleged assault. They also damaged her credibility as Huth initially got the year of the attack wrong.

It has been almost a year to the day since the man once called America’s father was released from prison when his sexual assault conviction was overturned. In 2018, he was convicted of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand at her home in 2004, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction, finding that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by the agreement of his predecessor not to indict the actor. Cosby has maintained his innocence and denies sexually assaulting a woman.

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