The number of women charging entertainer and cultural icon Bill Cosby with sexual assault has grown to at least 15 with a Huffington Post tally putting it at 20.
Whatever the number, Mr. Cosby’s reputation seems forever tarnished, no matter that his lawyers and a few defenders in the entertainment industry continue to deny the charges or at least raise questions about the accusations.
As if to symbolize Cosby’s situation, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, placed there in 1977, has been vandalized, scrawled with the word “rapist.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department is encouraging women who claim to be victims to come forward even through the legal statute of limitations may have passed.
“We don’t turn people away because things are out of statute. You come to us, especially with a sexual allegation, we will work with you,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. “We address these things seriously, and it’s not just because it’s Mr. Cosby.”
The latest accuser – Judy Huth – has filed a civil lawsuit against Cosby, alleging that he sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.
On Tuesday, Ms. Huth filed a complaint in US Superior Court in Los Angeles alleging sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress for an incident that allegedly occurred around 1974, People magazine reports.
Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, responded by filing a response saying Huth's claims were false, part of an attempt to extort Cosby for $250,000 before filing the suit.
Ms. Huth and attorney Gloria Allred met with LAPD special victim unit detectives Friday.
Also Friday, a woman who said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1979 told her story in interviews with CNN and The Associated Press and said she wanted to help stop the comedian from abusing others.
P.J. Masten said in an interview with CNN that she woke up naked and bruised in a bed with Cosby in Chicago after he gave her an alcoholic drink and that she believes she was raped.
She said she knew Cosby from working at Playboy clubs in New Jersey, Los Angeles and Chicago. She said she was instructed at the time not to report the assault because Cosby was Hugh Hefner's "best friend," but she decided this week to come forward with her allegations after Linda Huth sued Cosby.
“There are a dozen former bunnies that I know of with similar stories, but they’re afraid to come forward,” Ms. Masten told the New York Daily News.
In response to reported episodes involving Playboy facilities, Mr. Hefner released this statement: “Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening. I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”
At the New York premiere of Chris Rock's upcoming comedy Top Five, some of the film's stars talked to the Entertainment Tonight news show (ET) about the developing Cosby scandal.
"[Cosby] is one of those legendary comedians. We all grew up on him, and we know and respect him, not just as a comedian, but for the things that he's done outside of comedy, with the colleges and giving back [to the community], and spending his money where his mouth is," said Soul Man star Cedric the Entertainer. "But if the allegations have any truth to them, you want the truth to come out. You want justification for all the people. That's all you can really say. It's an unfortunate scenario."
"It's sad, and incomprehensible," Jerry Seinfeld told ET.
In a recent interview, Chris Rock, who wrote, directed and stars in Top Five, told New York Magazine: "I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it's not true. That's all you can say. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it's not true. It's a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin [Williams], we lost Joan [Rivers] and we kind of lost Cosby."