BOSTON – A New Hampshire woman has joined the growing ranks of accusers suing Bill Cosby and alleging defamation.
Kristina Ruehli on Monday filed a federal lawsuit saying Cosby falsely accused her of lying when she came forward last year and said he raped her in 1965.
“In making the false and defamatory statements, Mr. Cosby held Mr. Ruehli up to public scorn and ridicule, injured her good name and reputation and caused her severe emotional distress,” her lawyers say in the complaint, filed in federal court in Springfield, near where Cosby has a home.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, follows similar civil actions by other Cosby accusers in California and Massachusetts, including another one in Springfield federal court.
Like Ruehli, three other women – Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz – say Cosby drugged them before having unwanted sexual contact with them. Cosby’s lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss the three women’s case before it goes to trial, but the judge denied that request last month.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse, but the women have come forward to tell their stories. The women are among dozens who in recent years have accused Cosby of sexual impropriety spanning decades.
Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992 and has been married for decades, has denied the women’s accusations and has not been criminally charged. The statute of limitations has expired in most of the cases against him. His spokesman Andrew Wyatt had no comment on Monday.
Ruehli, who lives in Windham, near the Massachusetts state line, says in her lawsuit that she met Cosby while working as a secretary at a Los Angeles talent agency, Artists Agency Corp., when she was 22 years old.
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She says Cosby invited her and others to a party at his home but when she arrived there were few people there, his wife was out of town and a baby was asleep in a bedroom.
Ruehli, who was named Donna Czapla at the time, says she took two drinks from Cosby and passed out, only to wake up naked and in Cosby’s bed. She says Cosby was trying to force her to give him oral sex.
She says she left the house after becoming nauseous and throwing up several times and she never saw or spoke to Cosby afterward.
Ruehli told her story to Philadelphia magazine in November 2014. In her lawsuit, she says Cosby’s then-lawyer responded to the accusation by issuing a “false and defamatory statement” in which he called her and Cosby’s other accusers liars.
Ruehli’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.