Bill Cosby faces new lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual misconduct decades ago, brought about by states’ passing laws that expand the window for sexual abuse accusers to take action.
Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy model who has publicly accused Cosby of drugging her and raping her in 1969, sued him Thursday, now that California legislators have temporarily allowed sexual abuse lawsuits in cases that exceed the 10-year statute of limitations.
Valentino, 80, says she never thought when she came forward that she would ever see any form of tangible justice in her case.
“No matter how much of a settlement comes out of this, and if, you know, if nothing comes out of it, it doesn’t matter, because it will never replace what was taken from me,” Valentino said.
All details Valentino shared to NBC News about the alleged incident are also in the lawsuit.
She said she met Cosby in 1969 when she went for an audition after her 6-year-old son died. She said she remembers telling Cosby about the death, a drowning, but didn’t hear from him again until she and her roommate ran into him at Café Figaro in Los Angeles.
“I was surprised, but he saw me sitting there crying, because I was having a hell of a day,” she said, referring to her grief over her son.
Cosby offered to pay for a spa for her and her roommate, Valentino said, and offered to take them to dinner afterward. She said that she didn’t want to go but that it appeared that Cosby, who had just starred in the hit show “I Spy,” seemed sincere in his offer.
“We weren’t looking for a date, but, you know, when the big star of this popular television series is offering to reach out to you seemingly in sympathy, you know, you kind of can’t turn it down,” she said.
At dinner, Cosby offered her and her roommate a pill and said it would make them “all feel better,” Valentino said. She said that she believes he faked taking his own pill and that he put a second one directly in her and her roommate’s mouths.
They began to feel unwell and asked to go home, Valentino said. But instead of driving them home, she said, Cosby took them to a townhome where he said he wanted to show them his “I Spy” awards. Valentino said she thinks she must have passed out after Cosby got them out of the car, because, she said, she woke up in a room with Cosby sitting by her roommate.
“He looked like he was getting ready to pounce on a little mouse,” she said. “And then I saw a bulge in his pants, and I knew he was going to rape her while she was unconscious. I just felt very protective of her, and I tried to distract him.”
She said that she began grasping at Cosby, who was out of her reach, and that she couldn’t quite form words in her state. Cosby then came over to her, she said, seemingly angry at her attempts to stop him.
Valentino said that when she stood up, she immediately felt her legs collapse beneath her and ended up kneeling in front of Cosby, who was on a love seat. Cosby then orally and vaginally raped her, according to her retelling and her lawsuit.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesperson, accused Valentino in a statement Thursday of having no “proof or facts” and of going from “town to town” with her allegations. He also alleged that the legislation that allowed her suit was a violation of Cosby’s constitutional rights. Cosby has consistently denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
“What graveyard can Mr. Cosby visit, in order to dig up potential witnesses to testify on his behalf?” Wyatt said. “America is continuing to see that this a formula to make sure that no more Black Men in America accumulate the American Dream that was secured by Mr. Cosby.”
Valentino pushed back against accusations that the allegations against Cosby, whom 60 women have accused of sexual abuse, had anything to do with his being Black.
“Andrew Wyatt has tried to make it seem as though it’s about race, but it’s not about race,” she said, adding that Cosby “was an equal opportunity rapist and probably the most prolific serial rapist of the 20th century. This is about rape, not race.”
Cosby was convicted in Pennsylvania on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018, charged with drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. The case was overturned in 2021. The state Supreme Court vacated the sentence, finding that he was denied protection against self-incrimination.
Cosby has no criminal convictions.
‘Look back window' laws and possible lawsuits in Nevada
Valentino’s lawsuit was filed under a new California law that created a window of time in which adult victims of sexual assault can file for civil damages even if the statute of limitations has expired. The law expanded previous legislation that extended the statute of limitations for minors alleging sexual abuse.
Valentino said she was absolutely stunned when she learned about the change that would allow her to face Cosby in court. She also said she knew she had to see her allegations through.
“There is no statute of limitations on murder, and rape is a murder of the soul,” Valentino said. “It’s a life sentence for the victim, so why should the rapist get any less? It’s time for a reckoning.”
Similar measures, referred to as “look back windows,” have passed in New York and New Jersey. Five women sued Cosby in New York in December, accusing him of sexual assault, which his representatives have denied.
Cosby was also found civilly liable last year of molesting Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1975, when she was 16 years old; his attorneys called her a liar.
Nevada passed a law, SB129, which was signed Wednesday, eliminating the civil statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases involving adults, a substantial change to the previous two-year limit. The change is also likely to bring forth more legal challenges for Cosby, as accuser Lise-Lotte Lublin is a Nevada resident.
Lublin has publicly accused Cosby of drugging her at a hotel in Las Vegas in 1989. Her husband, Benjamin Lublin, said that he was told about the incident when they started dating 23 years ago but that they both saw the situation in a new light after Janice Dickinson came forward accusing Cosby of assault.
His wife decided to file a police report in 2014.
“I had to sit outside, and when she came out, she was crying,” Lublin said. “I asked her, ‘Well, what’s wrong?’ And she said they can’t do anything. ... And the detective turned to me and said it’s because of the statute of limitations. I said, ‘What the hell is the statute of limitations?’”
The couple, both born and raised in Nevada, have spent years supporting legislation to expand statutes of limitations in their state. When a similar version of SB129 failed to pass in 2019, Lublin said, they almost gave up.
But then the couple went to support Huth in her California case, he said.
“I saw Judy in the court with Lise, and we both saw how strong she was and how she was fighting, you know, to seek justice,” Lublin said. “That re-energized us. ... Because once I saw that, if this was possible in California, then it is possible in Nevada.”
Nevada state Sen. Lisa Krasner, a primary sponsor of SB129, said she was motivated to make sure victims and survivors of sexual assault could seek justice. The bill, which passed unanimously in the state Senate, would allow people time to come to terms with what happened to them and seek justice, Krasner said.
“They still have to go in front of a courtroom, in front of a judge and a jury of their peers,” Krasner said. “They still have to have evidence. They still have to prove their case. So there’s a lot of hurdles they must cross, but it keeps the courtroom doors open so that they have the ability to bring their case if they want to.”
It’s important that lawmakers work to ensure people feel they are able to seek justice, Krasner said.
Asked about the Nevada law and the possibility of another suit against Cosby, Wyatt said it was “interesting” that such laws were being passed in the states where Cosby’s accusers lived.
“Mr. Cosby is a citizen of these United States, but these judges and lawmakers are consistently allowing these civil suits to flood their dockets — knowing that these women are not fighting for victims — but for their addiction to massive amounts of media attention and greed,” Wyatt said. Cosby has denied Lublin’s allegations.
Lublin said he and his wife have spoken to an attorney about a future suit against Cosby, as well as reached out to fellow Cosby accusers who might have interest in a civil case. He also supported Valentino, whom he called a friend, in her case in California.
Lublin described his wife and the other women who have come forward as warriors.
“This is personal, because this happened to my wife, and we’ve been seeking justice for so many years because of Cosby,” Lublin said. “And this is personal because for decades upon decades upon decades in Nevada, Bill Cosby has hid behind the statute of limitations. And that day is over, and we’re coming for him.”