By NICOLE WEISENSEE EGAN firstname.lastname@example.org
A FORMER Temple University employee filed a federal lawsuit yesterday
against comedian Bill Cosby , alleging he drugged and sexually
assaulted her at his Cheltenham Township mansion in January 2004.
The lawsuit from Andrea Constand, who was director of operations for
the Temple women's basketball team, includes claims of battery,
assault, invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of
Constand's attorneys, Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz, ask for sums in
excess of $150,000, plus attorneys fees and punitive damages. The basis
for the claim in federal court is Constand's Canadian citizenship and
the amount the attorneys are requesting.
The civil suit contains new details about the night in question,
including claims that Cosby, 67, did more than just grope Constand. The
attorneys said they have a lot more evidence than before.
"We're still getting phone calls from people with information," Troiani
said, "and we'd like to keep getting phone calls. "
The suit also states that Cosby and his representatives phoned
Constand, 31, and her mother after Constand went to police on Jan. 13
and offered them "financial compensation," which they refused.
"Beginning on or about Jan. 16, 2005, and continuing in the days
thereafter, defendant and/or his representatives and agents placed at
least four phone calls to plaintiff and her mother in which, among
other things, defendant apologized and offered financial compensation
to plaintiff," the lawsuit said.
Troiani and Kivitz said filing the suit was the first step toward
closure for their client.
"Our client is seeking the justice due her in a forum where she can
expect to be treated with the dignity and respect she deserves," they
said in a statement. "Our client sustained injuries and justice, by
definition in a civil suit, includes compensation for such damages. "
David Brokaw, Cosby's publicist, had no comment on the suit or its
"Right now, I have no information," Brokaw said late yesterday afternoon.
Cosby has previously denied the allegations.
Last month, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr.
announced he was not filing criminal charges against Cosby, saying
there was not enough evidence to sustain the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Daily News had not identified Constand before now, because it does
not identify alleged sexual-assault victims. However, Constand's
attorneys, who could have identified her as a "Jane Doe" in the suit,
used her real name.
Castor's handling of the criminal case, including not notifying
Constand or her attorneys of his decision, still rankles Troiani and Kivitz.
Constand even offered to take a lie detector test, but investigators
said it wasn't necessary, Troiani said.
Constand first met Cosby in November 2002, about a year after she began
working at Temple University, the suit said. Cosby, who is married,
"fostered a friendship" with her, "so that over time she considered him
to be both her friend, albeit older, and a mentor," the suit said.
She socialized with him over the next year, discussing Temple women's
basketball with him, talking with him by telephone and "being his guest
at dinner parties and other events hosted by him at his Cheltenham home
and other locations," the suit said.
In January 2004, Cosby invited Constand to his mansion, "telling her he
wanted to offer her assistance in her pursuit of a different career,"
the suit said.
She agreed to meet him and arrived at his home around 9 p.m. They began
talking and, during the conversation, Constand said she was feeling
"stressed" about making her career decision, the suit said.
Cosby "then offered [her] three blue pills, which he told her were
herbal medication, which would help her relax," the suit said. Constand
"questioned if she needed to take all three pills, and [Cosby] assured
her that all three pills were necessary. "
Constand took the pills with bottled water and within a short period of
time, her "knees began to shake, her limbs felt immobile, she felt
dizzy and weak, and she began to feel only barely conscious," the lawsuit said.
She told Cosby she didn't feel well and, because she couldn't walk on
her own, he led her to a sofa and laid her down, the suit said.
"Subsequently, [Cosby] positioned himself behind [Constand] on the
sofa, touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against
her hand, and sexually assaulted her. "
Constand was "semi-conscious" throughout the ordeal, the suit said,
then lost consciousness shortly afterward.
She woke around 4 a.m., "feeling raw in and around her vaginal area,"
the lawsuit said. Her "clothes and undergarments were in disarray," the
Constand did not go to police for several reasons, Troiani said: her
feelings of betrayal and shame; Cosby's celebrity status, and Cosby's
stature at Temple, her employer.
After she woke up, Cosby greeted her "in his bathrobe," the suit said.
She left his home by herself and, one year later, reported his actions
to police in Durham, Ontario.
Since the alleged assault, Constand has "suffered serious and
debilitating injuries, mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment,
physical and emotional upset, including, but not limited to,
post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, sleeplessness, isolation,
flashbacks and anxiety," the suit said.
The lawsuit also accuses Cosby of defamation for statements it claims
he and his representatives made to get the public to believe Constand
was trying to get money out of him. The suit lists a Feb. 27 report on
"Celebrity Justice," a tabloid television show, and an interview Cosby
recently conducted that is in the March 4 issue of the National Enquirer.