LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas revives allegations of sexual assault against comedian Bill Cosby related to a 1986 incident.
A change in Nevada law that removed the statute of limitations on sexual assault in civil cases opened the possibility of further legal action against Cosby. Details of the incident were reported in the national media in 2018 when Chelan Lasha confronted Cosby in a Pennsylvania courtroom. A jury ruled in her favor in that case.
Cosby spent nearly three years in prison before a judge overturned his criminal conviction, ruling that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby. He was released on June 30, 2021. That case, involving a Temple University official in 2004, had similarities to the claims by Lasha that Cosby drugged her and then sexually assaulted her.
Now lawyers are pursuing the claims here. Lasha, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident and is now 54, was befriended by Cosby two years earlier after he saw her photo on her stepmother’s desk and called her grandmother to offer his help with her modeling career, according to the lawsuit. The family lived in North Las Vegas.
When Cosby visited, he would hand out Jello pudding pops to kids in the neighborhood, according to the lawsuit.
In 1986, when Lasha was working at the bell desk at the Las Vegas Hilton (now the Westgate), Cosby made contact again, saying he wanted her to come to Room 3000, the Elvis Presley Suite, at the hotel to take publicity photos with a photographer who was there. Cosby was with the photographer.
After the photos were taken, Cosby asked her to go into the bathroom and wet her hair and put on a hotel robe for more photos. Lasha kept a skort and a tank top on underneath. After the photos were done, the photographer left.
The lawsuit alleges that Cosby gave her a pill — a blue capsule he said was an antihistamine — and a glass of Amaretto after she blew her nose and said she had a sinus issue. He repeatedly asked her if she was OK.
The details below contained in the lawsuit documents are explicit and may not be appropriate for all readers.
Cosby went behind Lasha and started rubbing her shoulders, and said she needed to lie down.
“He took her down a corridor to a bedroom and laid Plaintiff down on a bed. Cosby lay next to Plaintiff. Plaintiff at this time realized that she could not move. Her eyes were open and she was aware of what was happening but she could not do anything about it,” according to the lawsuit.
“Cosby started touching Plaintiff’s breasts and nipples and was humping on her leg and grunting. Then Plaintiff felt Cosby ejaculating on her leg,” the lawsuit alleges. After that, she passed out.
When she awoke, Cosby was repeatedly clapping his and saying, “Daddy says wake up,” according to the lawsuit.
Lasha was aware her clothes had been removed and Cosby had sex with her, the law alleges.
“She noticed that her clothes were on a dresser along with a stack of $100 bills. Cosby told her to get dressed and that she had to leave now,” according to the lawsuit.
When she left, she told her sister and a friend what had happened.
Cosby called Lasha a few days later and asked how she was doing. She told him she was’t doing well and that she was crying. “Cosby then said people that talk too much can be quieted,” according to the lawsuit.
She lost her job at the Hilton and her modeling career never got off the ground. She believed Cosby used his influence to shut her out.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from a jury trial, alleging sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor, battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress and other claims.
Lasha is represented by Strecker Law Offices of Irvine, California, and the Henderson Law Office of Hayes & Welsh.