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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby is being accused in a new lawsuit of assaulting a 15-year-old girl in the Playboy Mansion four decades ago.
In a civil suit filed in a California state court on Tuesday, Judy Huth claims that in 1974, Cosby gave her alcohol and convinced her to lie about her age to gain entry to the Playboy Mansion. Once inside, Huth alleges that Cosby sexually molested her and caused her "psychological damage and mental anguish."
Is it possible for Huth to recover legally from something that happened 40 years ago?
Time Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims
Every state has laws which treat civil lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse differently. In many states, the metaphorical clock for filing a lawsuit doesn't start ticking until after the child has reached the age of majority or has discovered the damage caused by the childhood sexual abuse.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Huth asserts she only tied her traumatic experience with Cosby to her mental and psychological problems "within the last three years." Fortunate for Huth that California law allows victims like herself to file lawsuits within three years of discovering that sexual abuse was the cause of the sought-after damages.
Huth's allegations describe actions that would otherwise amount to criminal charges, but according to the Times, California law would only allow charges to be filed if the crimes occurred in 1988 or later.
Cosby's lawyer declined to comment about Huth's lawsuit, Reuters reports. Under California law, after a defendant is properly served with a civil lawsuit, he generally has 30 days to file a response.