Bill Cosby stays silent as new abuse allegations surface

Bill Cosby will not "dignify" the sexual abuse allegations against him with a response, his lawyer said Sunday, following renewed scrutiny in the media and new comments from his accusers.

In the past week, two women have come forward with accusations that Cosby abused them, one of them for the first time. Cosby was questioned about these details in a weekend interview on NPR.

"Cosby won my trust as a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985, brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times," wrote Barbara Bowman for the Washington Post on Thursday.

Bowman continued: "I’ve been telling my story publicly for nearly 10 years. ... Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest." (Burress' October stand-up included the following line: "You rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches. 'I don't curse onstage.' Well, yeah, you're [a] rapist.")

On Sunday, journalist Joan Tarshis also came forward. Tarshis said she met Cosby in 1969, and that he assaulted her at his home after giving her a drink.

"The next thing I remember was coming to on his couch while being undressed,” she wrote. “Through the haze I thought I was being clever when I told him I had an infection, and he would catch it and his wife would know he had sex with someone. But he just found another orifice to use."

Such allegations against Cosby have a long history, although he has repeatedly denied them and has never been prosecuted. In 2006, he settled a civil suit with another woman over an alleged incident, according to the Associated Press.

The change here isn't the message, but the medium, as CNN notes -- for example, Burress' performance went viral through YouTube. The shift was crystallized recently, when a request from Cosby's official Twitter feed for fans to "meme me" backfired, as many of the submissions labeled him a predator, a twist on the iconography that made Cosby one of America's most famous comic performers.

The accusations' perseverance has dogged the performer's public image and are, as CNN's Todd Leopold and Ben Brumfield put it, never less than "a mouse click away."

When "Weekend Edition" host Scott Simon raised the issue of these "serious allegations" on NPR, Cosby remained silent. According to Simon, he only shook his head "no." An upcoming appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" was canceled following that interview.

On Sunday, Cosby's lawyer John P. Schmitt issued a statement: "The fact that they [the allegations] are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."

Next year, Cosby will star in a new sitcom for NBC.

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