CLAIMS: Bill Cosby
A FORMER actress has claimed veteran actor Bill Cosby emotionally and sexually abused her in her teens.
Barbara Bowman told the Mail Online that the Cosby Show star, who played loveable patriarch Dr Huxtable in the hit TV show, manipulated her into believing he was a father figure before drugging and raping her on more than one occasion.
“I was drugged and raped by that man,” she told the newspaper. “He is a monster. He came at me like a monster. My hope is that others who have experienced sexual abuse will not be intimidated into silence by the famous, rich and powerful. If I can help one victim, then I've done my job.”
In 1985, Bowman, an aspiring 17-year-old actress, privately auditioned for Cosby, who was at the height of his success, and claims this is where the abuse started.
“The first thing Mr. Cosby said when he met me in the conference room was, ‘I want you to go in the bathroom and wet your hair…then sit in this chair, shut your eyes and do an improvisation exercise with me.’
“He wanted me to act completely drunk, wasted, while he stood behind me and stroked my neck and upper chest. He didn't touch me beyond that, on that day, but that's where it certainly started,” she said.
Bowman, now 47, says it's time to end her code of silence - a silence that at least 13 other victims have followed - spanning three decades.
'I'm finally revealing all of my full story in hopes that others will learn to read the tell-tale signs of abuse and not wait as long as I did. No one believed me for years. They said Bill would never do that. That it was preposterous. But I'm putting my name out there and standing behind these words, just like Burress. No more code of silence.'
Comedian Hannibal Buress recently delivered a tongue-lashing at Bill Cosby, calling him a serial 'rapist', bringing such allegations to the fore.
“I thank Hannibal Burress for speaking out over and over again, despite the threats from the Industry that it could ruin his career. He is standing up for me and the other women who are too afraid to speak out.”
While other victims were allegedly given hush money to prevent them from going public with their accusations, and another settled after filing a court case against Cosby, Barbara is free to speak out.
“I never took shut up money. My motivation to speak now is to expose Bill Cosby as the animal that he is. He went after me in that hotel room like an animal with such sexual prowess and force that he couldn't control himself. And at 19-years-old, I knew it would be the last time he would ever get the chance to hurt me this way again.”
The following years marked success for the happily married mother-of-two. She has starred in more than 30 national TV commercials, including ones for McDonalds, Miller Light and Holiday Inn.
She also had guest spots on Saturday Night Live, One Life to Live, and All My Children.
She eventually moved to Los Angeles and continued to excel in film and TV.
'But I never got the career that I was meant to have.'
Eventually a girlfriend convinced her to meet with a lawyer in 1987.
“He laughed me out of the office. He said I was delusional, ridiculous, making these stories up. No one believed me,” she said.
In 2004, when another rape victim Andrea Constand went public with her plight by filing a lawsuit against Cosby, Barbara said she made it her 'mission' to support her.
Barbara was one of 13 victims called upon to take the witness stand in Constand's civil lawsuit. Constand settled out of court for an undisclosed sum in 2006.
A spokesperson for Cosby could not be reached. Cosby has strongly denied previous accusations against him, which his attorney described as “preposterous” and “bizarre”.