Bill Cosby's Early Accuser, Joan Tarshis, Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Tarshis filed under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York law that expires this week.

Former actress Joan Tarshis, who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault more than five decades ago, filed a new lawsuit against the actor. 

According to USA Today, this legal action is made possible under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York law that provides a one-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file claims that would otherwise be barred by time limits. The law is set to expire Nov. 24.

Tarshis initially came forward with her allegations in 2014, alleging that Cosby drugged her and forced her to perform oral sex in 1969 or 1970. According to the new lawsuit, she claims to have been drugged and raped by Cosby in another encounter a year or two later. 

The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, details that Tarshis, a New York resident at the time, was living in California and met Cosby through a mutual friend while he was starring in "The Bill Cosby Show."

According to Tarshis, Cosby asked her to meet at the studio lot while he was filming his show, suggesting they work on a skit she was writing. Upon entering his bungalow, Tarshis alleges she became unconscious after accepting a drink from Cosby. She claims to have woken up to find him undressing her and forcing her to perform oral sex.

While a spokesperson for Cosby did not address the specifics of Tarshis's claims, he referred to other recent lawsuits under New York's Adult Survivors Act, questioning when such legal actions would cease.

Cosby has faced accusations of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment by more than 60 women. In the #MeToo era, he was the first celebrity to be tried and convicted. He spent nearly three years in a state prison near Philadelphia after being convicted; his conviction was overturned and he was released in 2021.

Tarshis, one of Cosby's earliest accusers, previously sued him in Massachusetts, where she was among seven women filing defamation claims after Cosby labeled them liars. These cases were settled in 2019.

The new lawsuit alleges assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment, seeking unspecified damages. 

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