Entertainment

Bill Cosby 'drugged and raped me,' says former teen actress Barbara Bowman

Former teen model and actor Barbara Bowman is repeating sexual assault claims against veteran American actor and comedian Bill Cosby, and asking why it has taken the public so long to take her seriously.

Arizona artist alleges in editorial that actor-comedian sexually assaulted her after meeting in 1985

Bill Cosby, seen here performing in September, is at the centre of new sex abuse allegations from an Arizona woman who says the actor/comedian 'sexually violated' her as a teenager. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Former teen model and actor Barbara Bowman is repeating sexual assault claims against veteran American actor and comedian Bill Cosby, and asking why it has taken the public so long to take her seriously. 

Bowman, now an Arizona-based artist and married mother with two children, described her allegations in detail in an editorial in Thursday's Washington Post.

"My agent introduced me to him as a protege," explained Bowman, who said she met Cosby in 1985, when he was at the height of his fame as the star and creator of the hit television sitcom The Cosby Show. 

"I blacked out after having dinner and one glass of wine at his New York City brownstone," alleges Bowman. "When I came to, I was in my panties and a man’s T-shirt, and Cosby was looming over me. I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me."

I was a teenager from Denver acting in McDonald’s commercials. He was Bill Cosby.- Barbara Bowman, former actor-model, on why she didn't go to the police

Bowman said she has struggled to get people to take her story seriously.

"I was a teenager from Denver acting in McDonald’s commercials, she said. "He was Bill Cosby: Consummate American dad Cliff Huxtable and the Jell-O spokesman."

Confidence from Canadian case

Despite never going to the police, Bowman told her story in the media a number of times in the past 10 years. She now said she felt "renewed confidence" when she was asked to testify in a case involving Cosby and a Canadian woman.

The Pickering, Ont., woman, who was in her 30s at the time, claimed the comedian assaulted her in 2004 after giving her sleeping pills. She said she woke up and found her bra undone and her clothes in disarray.

Cosby denied the claims, and the matter was eventually settled out of court.

Bowman says she's never received any money from Cosby, nor has she asked for any. "I have nothing to gain by continuing to speak out. He can no longer be charged for his crimes against me, because the statute of limitations is long past."

Bowman intends to call for legislation that revises the statute of limitations on these kinds of crimes.

'Why didn’t our stories go viral?'

Comedian Hannibal Buress made headlines in October when he called Cosby a 'rapist' and a 'sanctimonious hypocrite' in a bit in Philadelphia. (Cindy Ord for AWXI/Getty Images)
Bowman believes that her story is only taking hold now after a male comedian, Hannibal Buress, lashed out at Cosby during a standup show last month in Philadelphia — Cosby's hometown.

The former Saturday Night Live writer mocked Cosby, saying "'I was on TV in the '80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.' Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches," Buress is quoted as saying. 

Earlier this week, a Cosby meme generator, launched by the comedian's official Twitter account, backfired when fans used it to call out the 77-year-old on sex assault allegations.

  • On mobile? See Cosby memes here and here

Bowman said she's "grateful" for the new attention to her claims, but is disheartened that it didn't happen sooner.

"Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it?," her editorial asks. "Why didn’t our stories go viral?"

Cosby has repeatedly denied the allegations and the actor has never been charged.

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