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Lawsuit claims Bill Cosby sexually assaulted teen at Las Vegas hotel in 1986

Updated January 31, 2024 - 8:10 pm

A Los Angeles woman is suing comedian Bill Cosby, claiming he sexually assaulted her in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Elvis Presley suite when she was a teenager in 1986.

Lawyers for Chelan Lasha, 54, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Monday, asking for compensatory, special and general damages from physical injuries and psychological and emotional trauma she claims she still suffers from the alleged attack.

The lawsuit claims sexual abuse, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotion distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

The comedian’s crisis manager Andrew Wyatt could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Prior to the alleged assault, Lasha, who was 17 at the time, took a “blue capsule” that Cosby gave her because she trusted Cosby “and thought he was a good man,” the lawsuit states. “She never imagined that he was going to drug her and sexually assault her.”

Lasha was one of several witnesses against Cosby, now 86, when he was found guilty in 2018 on three criminal counts in a criminal retrial in Pennsylvania in the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, an acquaintance of Cosby.

Lasha’s lawsuit states that she first met Cosby when she was 15 when Cosby worked for a company where her stepmother worked. He saw a photo of Lasha on her stepmother’s desk.

The stepmother told him Lasha was interested in acting and modeling, and Cosby soon contacted Lasha’s grandmother to tell her Lasha had a future in acting and modeling, according to the lawsuit.

Cosby later came to Las Vegas and visited Lasha’s North Las Vegas home, told her grandmother the girl had potential and then revisited the home four times over the next two years.

Lasha called Cosby at a production company, and he told her he would serve as a “father figure” since her parents were in and out of prison, the lawsuit states. At the time, she lived with her grandmother, who also trusted Cosby, according to the lawsuit.

In October 1986, when she was 17 and a virgin, Cosby called her grandmother to say that he had a photographer from a modeling agency ready to do headshots and that Cosby wanted Lasha to read from a script.

Cosby had Lasha, who had been suffering from a minor sinus problem, go to the Elvis Suite at the Hilton, and after the photographer took some shots, she followed Cosby’s instruction to go into the bathroom and put on a bathrobe, according to the lawsuit.

More photos were taken, and after the photographer left, Cosby gave her a glass of amaretto and the capsule, which he said was an antihistamine to help with her sinuses, the lawsuit alleges.

A script coach then entered and helped her pronounce words from the script, then left, at which time Lasha felt strange and Cosby directed her to the bedroom, laid her on the bed and soon Lasha felt she not move her body, according to the lawsuit.

Lasha claims in the lawsuit that Cosby removed her clothing under the robe, sexually assaulted her and that she passed out until she heard Cosby clapping and saying, “Daddy says wake up” over and over.

He directed her out of the suite and into the elevator in the hallway, after which she drove her car and told her sister and a friend what had transpired, the lawsuit states.

When Cosby called her a couple of days later, he allegedly told her “people that talk too much can be quieted,” according to the lawsuit.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

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