Comedian Bill Cosby accused in lawsuit of molesting girl in 1974

Bill Cosby attends the American Comedy Awards in New York on April 26, 2014. The comedian has been sued in Los Angeles by a woman who alleges he sexually abused her in 1974 when she was aged 15. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Bill Cosby attends the American Comedy Awards in New York on April 26, 2014. The comedian has been sued in Los Angeles by a woman who alleges he sexually abused her in 1974 when she was aged 15. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Los Angeles (Reuters) - Bill Cosby was sued on Tuesday by a woman alleging he molested her in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15, in what is believed to be the first court case arising from a recent wave of sexual misconduct accusations against the comedian.

The five-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, charged that Cosby sexually abused plaintiff Judy Huth by putting his hand down her pants, and then "taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent". Huth claims she and a female friend met and chatted with Cosby on the set of a movie they saw was being filmed in a suburban Los Angeles park, and that he invited them to his tennis club the following Saturday.

The suit also said the girls told Cosby they were 15 and 16 years old when he asked their ages.

Arriving at the tennis club days later, the girls played a drinking game with Cosby at his suggestion, and he then led them to the Playboy Mansion after they "had been served multiple alcoholic beverages". Once at the Playboy Mansion, the suit said, Cosby instructed the girls to lie about their ages if asked. It was there that the plaintiff said she emerged from a bathroom to find Cosby on a bed and asking her to sit beside him before groping her. "This traumatic incident, as such a tender age, has caused psychological damage and mental anguish for the plaintiff that has caused her significant problems throughout her life," the complaint said.

A woman answering the telephone for Cosby's lawyer Martin Singer said the attorney was not commenting on the matter.

The suit came a day after Cosby resigned from the board of trustees of Temple University, his Philadelphia alma mater, amid a series of sexual assault accusations lodged against the comedian by more than a dozen women in recent weeks.

None of those women is believed to have filed a lawsuit.

Allegations that Cosby, now 77, drugged and sexually assaulted a number of young women decades ago gained renewed attention after standup comic Hannibal Buress called him a rapist during a performance in October.

One of Cosby's accusers, Barbara Bowman, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed this month that he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions in 1985 when she was 17.

Cosby's camp unwittingly intensified the scandal on Twitter by asking his supporters to create viral online parodies, or memes about him, and was instead barraged with Internet satires about the rape accusations.

He has not been charged. His lawyers have called the assault claims discredited and defamatory. In 2006, he settled for an undisclosed sum a lawsuit brought by another woman, Andrea Constand, who claimed Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her.

NBC and Netflix recently cancelled projects with Cosby, and reruns of his top-rated sitcom, The Cosby Show, were pulled from cable channel TV Land, all without explanation.