A California jury has found actor Bill Cosby, 84, responsible - the term used in American justice as guilty in civil trials - of sexually assaulting Judy Huth in 1975, when she was 16 years old. Cosby must pay the victim $500,000 in damages.
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The sentence comes a year after the annulment of his last conviction of sexual abuse by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania considering that he did not have a fair trial, which produced a wave of shock and rage. Until that moment, the actor had been incarcerated in a state prison near Philadelphia for two years and was the first celebrity to be prosecuted in the era of the Me Too movement, which seeks to make harassment and inequality of women visible. He had been sentenced to ten years in prison for having sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby was arrested in 2015 and when the trial ended in April 2018, he was convicted of three different charges of sexual abuse.
According to the Santa Monica jury that has just held him responsible, Cosby provoked sexual contact with the young woman knowing that she was a minor. The victim, who is now 64 years old, filed the civil lawsuit in 2014 and, despite the fact that there were legal precedents that invalidated the accusation for having prescribed. Instead, she was admitted by the jury because California law extends the time limit for these types of lawsuits if the victim was a minor when the assault occurred.
Bill Cosby has not appeared in any of the sessions of this trial, invoking the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants any individual the right not to testify if their words can be used to incriminate them for a crime. Cosby has another file open in New Jersey, where another actress accuses him of sexual abuse.
Behind the door of the Playboy mansion
In the trial, which has lasted for three weeks, Judy Huth's defense stated that she met Bill Cosby while playing sports with a friend, Donna Samuelson, during the filming of Let's Do It Again. The lawyer argued that Bill Cosby first took advantage of spaces that were safe for the young woman, such as a public park, in order to gain her trust. And that he subsequently invited her to an arcade at the Playboy mansion.
Samuelson testified at trial. "She told me that Bill Cosby had tried to have sex with her (...) and asked me to get out of there immediately," he declared about this event in which the comedian tried to put Huth's hand inside his pants and He forced her to perform sexual practices on him.
"It's a huge step for all the victims out there," Huth told reporters as he left the hearing. "It's about time he paid for what he has done to so many women," he added.