By Ed Payne
(CNN) — Attorney Gloria Allred challenged comedian Bill Cosby, hounded by allegations of sexual assault, to meet his accusers in court or set aside $100 million to settle their claims.
“The public deserves to know if Mr. Cosby is a saint or a sexual predator,” Allred said Wednesday.
Because many of the claims of sexual assault are decades old, Cosby would have to agree to waive the statute of limitations, allowing his accusers to sue him.
“It could be advantageous for Mr. Cosby to give up the statute of limitations because there is a huge cloud on his reputation and legacy,” Allred said.
But she also offered a second option.
Cosby could put $100 million into a fund and anyone who claims she was a victim could file and have a panel of retired judges decide the merits of the case and award compensation.
“We challenge Mr. Cosby to end this nightmare for both him and the alleged victims by accepting either of the options,” Allred said.
There was no immediate response from Cosby’s lawyer Martin D. Singer.
Allred made the offer at a news conference flanked by three women who say they were sexually assaulted by the entertainer.
Two of the women allege they were drugged by Cosby and sexually assaulted in the 1980s.
A third woman said Cosby followed her and her friends around at a celebrity tennis tournament in 1973. She said he grabbed her right breast at a restaurant.
The latest allegations came a day after another women, Judy Huth, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress during an incident at the Playboy Mansion, according to the documents first obtained by Radar Online.
The alleged sexual assault took place in 1974 when Huth was 15 years old.
According to court documents, Huth and a 16-year-old friend met Cosby when he was filming a movie at Lacy Park in Los Angeles.
After talking with the girls, the suit alleges, Cosby invited them to his tennis club the following Saturday, “where he served them alcoholic beverages and played games of billiards.”
They then went to the Playboy Mansion where, the lawsuit says, Cosby asked Huth to sit on a bed beside him, after she came out of a bathroom.
“He then proceeded to sexually molest her by attempting to put his hand down her pants, and then taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”
CNN reached out to Singer, but has not gotten a response. Cosby’s camp has repeatedly and vigorously denied previous allegations.
CNN also tried to contact Huth and her attorneys but has not heard back from them either.
‘Horrible, horrendous allegations’
The suit goes on to call Cosby’s alleged actions “malicious, oppressive and fraudulent in nature.”
“This traumatic incident, at such a tender age, has caused psychological damage and mental anguish for (Huth) that has caused her significant problems throughout her life since the incident.”
The case describes the damage as “substantial and continuing.”
Huth is asking for damages and legal fees.
Because four decades have passed since the alleged crime, it wasn’t immediately clear if the case falls within the statute of limitations in California for child sex abuse.
It’s because of that lag in time that CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson says he thinks Cosby’s legal team will ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
“It’s highly problematic, and it’s likely the lawsuit will not stand,” he said.
With the allegations mounting, CNN political contributor Van Jones said that now is the time for Cosby to speak up.
“At some point, his silence becomes almost kind of an admission,” he said. “These are horrible, horrendous allegations.”
Cosby has not commented on the allegations, leaving that to his lawyer.
In a recent statement, Singer said it defies common sense that “so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”
By CNN’s count, at least 20 women have gone public with accusations.
“He owes this country. He owes his fans. He owes the women some kind of statement,” said Jones, who is also an attorney. “I think this level of silence for this long is unfair to everybody.”
Huth’s lawsuit was filed on the same day that The Daily Beast published a story in which a man named Tony Hogue alleges he rescued a female friend from Cosby’s New York brownstone in 1984.
The article describes Hogue beating on the comedian’s front door after receiving a frantic phone call from the woman, who said, “Tony, you’ve got to come get me.”
After Cosby answered the door, the story says, Hogue found his friend on the second floor of the home.
“She looked drugged and in a fog, and she couldn’t snap out of it,” he said. “She was a mess.”
The Daily Beast reports this same woman was a witness in a sex assault lawsuit against Cosby, filed in 2005.
That case was settled before going to trial.
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