On Friday, actor Lili Bernard stated at a news conference in New York City that in the early 1990s, Bill Cosby drugged and raped her. Bernard, who guest-starred on the eighth and final season of The Cosby Show as Mrs. Minifield, said Cosby offered to mentor her, telling her, "You're one of my kids."
At the news conference, Bernard said, "He praised me. ... He lifted me up. I believed him. After all, he was Bill Cosby. After he had won my complete trust and adoration, he drugged me and raped me."
On April 30, Bernard, along with her lawyer Gloria Allred, went to the police station in Atlantic City to report the alleged crime. There is no statute of limitations for rape in New Jersey, meaning if the police find sufficient evidence to make a case against Cosby, he could be prosecuted.
Bernard said she last had contact with Cosby in 1992 when the comedian threatened her, saying, "As far as I'm concerned, Bernard, you're dead. Do you hear me? You're dead, Bernard. You don't exist. I never wanna see your face again. Now get the hell out of here!" Bernard said she told family, friends, a pastor, and a therapist about what had allegedly happened, but never law enforcement until yesterday.
"I am coming forward to show my 6-year-old daughter to stand in truth, and to say that I have survived Bill Cosby's drugging and raping me," Bernard said. "I stand here to take back my power and to confront the fear that has paralyzed me for so many years."
Allred added, "Women need to break out of their fear and report, so that predators can be held accountable. Lili has shown tremendous courage in making her report, and we hope that others will follow her example as well"
Sammie Mays, a writer and author, also came forward at the same news conference as Bernard stating that she had been drugged and assaulted by Cosby. Mays said that in the late 1980s, she met Cosby and asked him for an interview. She alleges he offered for her to come back to his hotel and they could talk along the way. Mays recalled being in Cosby's hotel room, where he made her a drink. She said she took two big gulps and woke up some time later, slouched over in her chair, with her shirt open, her bra pulled up above her breasts, and her belt unhooked and rehooked looser than she had it.
"I had been out cold and I could not tell how long. I was discombobulated," Mays said. "I looked up at Bill Cosby for him to say something, to shed light on what had happened. He had this placid expression on his face like there was no need for any concern."
Since 2014, over three dozen women have come forward alleging they were sexually assaulted by Cosby, with many having similar stories that they were drugged and then raped.
Saturday, Cosby is performing his comedy show "Far From Finished" in Atlanta. A protest is expected to take place outside the venue for the nearly 40 alleged victims. Allred said she and Bernard will attend.
"I look forward to continuing our battle in Atlanta tomorrow against Bill Cosby and making sure that those who hurt women will not be able to do so without being held accountable either in a court of law or in the court of public opinion for their acts of violence against them," Allred said.
Emily Orley is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Orley reports on the television industry.
Contact Emily Orley at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.