Comedian Bill Cosby has responded to a lawsuit filed against him earlier this week that alleged he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1974.
Calling the allegations "patently false," Cosby filed his response to the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, reports the Los Angeles Times. In addition to challenging the factual basis of the allegations made in the lawsuit, Cosby also claims that the lawsuit should be barred by the statute of limitations.
What's the story behind the lawsuit and Cosby's response? Here are five things you should know:
- What is the lawsuit about? The lawsuit was filed by Judy Huth, who claims that when she was 15 years old, Cosby convinced her to lie about her age to get into the Playboy Mansion. Huth says that Cosby gave her alcohol then sexually assaulted her, causing her to suffer long-term physical and psychological harm.
- What was Cosby's response? In response to the lawsuit, Cosby's lawyer filed a demurrer, the legal way in which someone who is being sued seeks to have a lawsuit dismissed for failing to state sufficient facts, or failing to follow the proper procedures.
- What does Cosby's demurrer say? In addition to disputing the facts of the woman's allegations, Cosby also asserts that the woman's lawsuit is barred by the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims, which in California must be filed within eight years of the victim turning 18 or within three years of the victim reasonably discovering injury or illness caused by the abuse. In this case, the alleged incident happened more than 30 years after Huth turned 18; Cosby asserts that Huth had tried to sell her story to tabloids nearly a decade ago. If true, that could cast doubt on Huth's claim that she only recently discovered that she'd suffered psychological and physical injury stemming from the alleged abuse.
- Why isn't Cosby being charged criminally? Statutes of limitations also apply to criminal charges, so Cosby is not being prosecuted criminally for the alleged sexual assault. However, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said that police would investigate any sexual assault complaints filed with his department, even if the statute of limitations had expired, reports the Los Angeles Times.
- What happens next? The court is expected to consider and rule on Cosby's demurrer, though it's not clear when that will happen. Cosby's court filing states the case is scheduled to be heard November 3, 2015.
In addition to seeking the dismissal of the complaint, Cosby is seeking attorney's fees and costs from Huth in the amount of $33,000.
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