When Bill Cosby invited 22-year-old Patricia to a dinner party at his family home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, in 1978, she assumed she would be dining with his wife as well. Instead, Cosby was the only other guest. He led Patricia to two place settings on a coffee table next to his fireplace.
“I felt alarm bells go off because it did feel intimate, but I was trying to be so grown up and mature,” said Patricia, now 58 years old. The Cosby family photos that lined the walls made her feel more at ease. She accepted the drink Cosby mixed her, along with his bizarre acting improvisation directions: Cosby wanted Patricia to pretend to be an elegant queen with oatmeal dripping all over her face.
“It was so creepy,” Patricia said. “He told me to convince him that I could remain regal and queenlike no matter what I looked like. I would leave the room and walk back in, pretending to be a queen with oatmeal on her face, and he would tell me I was doing it wrong and to go back and try again. Then, I started to feel weird from the drink. And then I don’t remember much.”
Patricia blacked out and then came to in Cosby’s guest bedroom, she said. She was naked, and Cosby was standing over her in a bathrobe. He told Patricia she had thrown up and passed out and that he’d had to wash her dress. He was even nice enough to offer her a toothbrush.
“I believed him,” said Patricia, who is speaking for exclusively to BuzzFeed News (her last name is withheld to protect her privacy). “I was deeply ashamed.”
More than 30 women have now publicly accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. The allegations against the legendary television star first came to light in 2005, when Andrea Constand filed a five-count lawsuit against Cosby claiming that he had drugged and molested her. 13 other women were listed in the lawsuit as Jane Doe witnesses. One of them was Patricia. After Cosby paid Constand to settle the suit in 2006, they were “effectively silenced,” Patricia said. She never even got to meet them.
Although other Jane Does have spoken to reporters, it wasn’t until after an October 2014 video of comedian Hannibal Buress ridiculing Cosby went viral that more alleged victims spoke out. The ensuing controversy has hampered Cosby’s career and shattered his reputation in a way the original allegations never had.
“The late ’70s and early ’80s were very different times than the culture in which we live at present,” Patricia said. “Powerful men were not challenged by women. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
Still, Patricia is only the seventh Jane Doe to tell her story to the press. (Dolores Troiani, Constand’s attorney, confirmed that Patricia was a Jane Doe witness for the lawsuit.)
Patricia is speaking out now because she wants to encourage the other Jane Does to come forward — even if, like her, they don’t want to use their last name or take photographs and “become part of the media circus.”
“You’re not alone,” she said. “You don’t have to keep this a secret anymore.”
Patricia’s story falls in line with many of Cosby’s alleged victims’ recollections. Cosby promised Patricia he would mentor her, she said. He flew her to fancy events across the country. And, Patricia said, she believes he drugged and sexually assaulted her twice. Patricia said she kept silent until now because she has always believed she was partially responsible for what happened to her.
“I played a part in what happened to me, because I trusted the wrong person,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I allowed my ambition to color my ability to make healthy choices. But what Cosby did was without my consent and a violation.”
Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, did not respond to requests for comment. Cosby has so far refused to answer questions about allegations against him.
Patricia said she met Cosby while working as a conference planner with the University of Massachusetts conference planning department after she graduated in 1978 with a degree in voice. Cosby, who received a master’s and a doctorate in education from the college, was a featured speaker. Patricia mustered up the courage to thank Cosby for speaking. The decision would change her life.
Cosby invited Patricia to be his guest that evening at a banquet and then asked her to meet him for a drink afterwards. When he discovered she was a singer, he offered to mentor her in the entertainment business, she said.
“I was young, naive, and very flattered, and I agreed,” she said. “I thought he really wanted to help me. He was very paternal to me; it wasn’t creepy at all. I trusted him to be a person I could respect.”
Patricia said she trusted Cosby even after she woke up naked after the “dinner party” at his home. She didn’t understand why she had blacked out after one drink, but she was more focused on how humiliated she felt after getting sick in front of the already legendary star — the next morning was the sickest she ever felt, and she had to pull over four times to throw up on the side of the road while driving home, she said. She was sure Cosby would never help her with her career after that, or contact her again.
But he did. Cosby arranged acting lessons for Patricia in New York City at the Stella Adler Conservatory and had his personal management company, SAH Enterprises in Los Angeles, send her a check for a membership at a fitness club (he said she needed to lose weight). She accompanied Cosby to the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement of Wilt Chamberlain and to a comedy show in Wisconsin. Cosby called Patricia regularly over the next year and a half to see how her acting lessons and exercise classes were going.
The last time Patricia saw Cosby was in 1980 at a live taping of the Dinah Shore Show, she said. Cosby had an unusual request: He demanded that Patricia style her hair like Queen Noor of Jordan.
“He was obsessed with her,” Patricia said.
Cosby even sent Patricia a photo of the queen with her hair up in a teased bun so that a hairdresser could replicate the look.
After the show, Cosby refused to talk to Patricia unless she agreed to take some pills he offered her that he said would “relax her,” Patricia said. So she took them. She still didn’t realize Cosby was interested in her sexually, she said.
She awoke the next morning naked, with her hair and makeup a mess.
“I was very sick and knew that someone had penetrated me,” she said. “Finally, I realized what was happening.”
When Patricia confronted Cosby about what had happened, he was furious, she said. He told her she was ungrateful and threw her out of his suite. She didn’t tell anyone what had happened for years.
“I internalized the events with tremendous shame and far too much responsibility,” she said “I didn’t think that anyone would believe me.”
Patricia joined Constand’s lawsuit after her therapist connected her with the detective who was investigating Constand’s case, who put her in touch with her legal team so Patricia could testify as a Jane Doe. When Constand settled, Patricia was “both relieved to not have to testify and disappointed at the same time.”
Now, Patricia lives in Northern California. She says she has worked through her feelings of shame but that if she could give her younger self advice, she would tell her that “people can let you down. Love yourself enough to pay attention to your intuition.”
“I had a lot of faith in authority figures like Cosby,” she said. “I trusted them. I trusted them not to violate me.”
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