Honorary BU Alum Bill Cosby’s Defamation Case in Worcester Court
Tamara Green, a California lawyer who publicly accused the disgraced sitcom dad of rape in 2005 (that is, nine years before BU saw fit to award him the same degree is handed Nobel Peace Prize-winning Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel) joined Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz in suing Cosby last year, claiming his responses to such allegations over that nine-year span were defamatory.
Four more women joined the suit on November 13, reports the Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Louisa Moritz, Joan Tarshis, Angela Leslie, and Barbara Bowman, who told Philadelphia magazine in 2006 (that is, eight years before BU President Robert Brown called him an “educator by word and example“) that Cosby threw her onto a bed and braced his forearm against her neck while he removed her clothes. In a follow-up interview, Bowman told Philadelphia, “I can still remember him messing with his belt. And I was screaming and crying and yelling and begging him to stop.”
The plaintiffs—seeking 18 counts of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy—allege the statements Cosby made between 2005 and 2014 were intended to discredit his accusers. Cosby, a resident of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, unsuccessfully tried to have the lawsuit dismissed in early October.
Following a scheduling conference in Worcester on Monday afternoon, the case will head to U.S. District Court in Springfield.
Tufts University rescinded Cosby’s honorary degree in October, while Boston College has advised those seeking bold action against holding their breath. “Bill Cosby was awarded an honorary degree from Boston College in 1996 in recognition of his role as an actor and humorist and his work on behalf of education,” BC told Vulture in a statement. “While the recent allegations against him are reprehensible, as a matter of policy Boston College does not rescind honorary degrees.”
(Keep in mind, Fordham University and Marquette University, both Jesuit schools like BC, as well as Brown University all made exceptions to their rules regarding honorary degrees, collectively turning their backs on 559 years of precedent to revoke Cosby’s degree.)