And the award for worst media disaster of 2014 goes to....

 

It just keeps getting worse for Bill Cosby. The steady drumbeat of sexual assault allegations is at this point deafening. Now, a new low in the scandal. Cosby is being sued by Judith Huth, a Southern California woman who claims the comedian molested her 40 years ago when she was just 15 years old. The suit marks the first civil lawsuit filed against Cosby since he settled a similar case in 2005, and the first time a woman has publicly accused Cosby of sexually abusing her while she was still a minor.

If Cosby is innocent, it’s time for him to sing it from the mountain tops. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. He had the chance last November during NPR and AP interviews. In both instances, Cosby refused to answer questions about recently reignited, decade old rape allegations. From a PR standpoint, the AP interview was especially disastrous and telling. Cosby not only challenged the reporter’s integrity for broaching the rape allegations, but tried to bully the journalist into deleting the segment. 

 

 

While Cosby has stayed tight-lipped, his lawyers have vigorously refuted the accusations. They’ve questioned why it took decades for the women to come forward, (Many didn’t want to risk the scorn and fall-out from taking-on “Americas Dad”) and reminded everyone that Cosby has never faced criminal charges. 

But in the court of public opinion, Cosby is behaving like a man who has something to hide. The fall-out has been merciless. NBC and Netflix have discontinued shows they were developing for the comedian, TV Land has suspended “Cosby” show reruns, concert venues have cancelled his appearances, and Cosby has stepped down as a trustee of his beloved Temple University.

Some PR executives have suggested that if guilty, the only way for Cosby to restore even a modicum of his legacy is to come clean. Cop to the allegations, deal with the legal and financial fallout, and dedicate the rest of his life to sexual assault and rape causes. But the Daily Beast’s Jay Michaelson believes there may be good reason for Cosby’s continued silence. In a November 2014 article titled, “No Wonder Cosby’s Keeping Quiet: He Could Still Be Prosecuted,” Michaelson writes, “Not all of the women’s claims are blocked by the statute of limitations…..this might be why Cosby is keeping mum on the accusations, despite the obvious public relations disaster. If he were to confess, he could well be prosecuted for his crimes.” 

Case in point; a 2004 allegation of sexual assault and battery by Andrea Constand; the most vocal of Cosby’s alleged victims. The alleged attack occurred in Pennsylvania which has a 12-year statute of limitations on sexual assault. And then there’s Huth, now 55, who suggests the statute of limitations be waived in her suit because she discovered "her psychological injuries and illnesses were caused by the sexual abuse perpetrated by Cosby" within the past three years.

Despite the legal maneuvers and revelations, an indictment still looks to be a long shot. Huth’s claim sounds calculated and financially expedient, and as has been widely reported, the district attorney investigating Constand’s 2005 allegations said he didn’t have enough evidence to pursue charges, (even though he found her credible). There’s also the issue of evidence or lack thereof. We have yet to hear anything about rape kits in any of the cases. 

As the scandal continues to develop, it’s anyone’s guess where the chips will fall. But one thing is certain. Cosby has been sucked into the vortex of 24/7 news coverage, and it won't be letting up anytime soon. Cosby is too big a name, and the allegations too numerous. It’s still so difficult to fathom. Bill Cosby a serial rapist? With this much smoke, it's hard to ignore the likelihood of a fire.