A civil court jury has found Bill Cosby guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1975, the New York Times reports. The incident occurred when the plaintiff, Judy Huth, accepted the comedian’s invitation to join him at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
Huth, to whom a California jury awarded $500,000 in damages Tuesday, first came forward with her accusations against Cosby in 2014. She’s just one of dozens of women who have come forth alleging the Cosby Show star of sexual misconduct, including a woman named Andrea Constand, whose 2017 trial versus Cosby ended in a mistrial after he was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
For many of those victims, the ruling in Huth’s case is a massive step towards justice: “I feel vindicated,” Huth told a reporter in the courtroom after the verdict.
As the Times points out, most of Cosby’s accusers were unable to come forward with their own lawsuits due to statutes of limitations. But in California, people molested as minors have a longer time period to file a civil claim, allowing Huth’s suit to move forward.
Despite ending in a mistrial, Constand’s suit still slapped Cosby with a three-year prison sentence. Because the United States Supreme Court declined to take up the case, authority defaulted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who chose to release Cosby early last year. Since then, the disgraced entertainer has teased — and then called off — a post-prison stand-up comedy tour, while filmmaker W. Kamau Bell reckoned with mourning an idol in the documentary We Need to Talk About Cosby.