These days, Kristina Ruehli is a 71-year-old New Hampshire woman who spends her leisure time skiing and being a grandmother to eight. But back in 1965, she was a 22-year-old woman trying to make ends meet in California, working as a secretary at a talent agency in Beverly Hills. And that is where she met Bill Cosby.
How did you come to know Bill Cosby?
I worked for a talent agency called Artists Agency Corp. They had big clients like Bob Culp, Richard Crenna and George Burns, and these people were always around. And that is the way that I met Bill Cosby.
He was a client?
Yes, well, he came into the office. There were always all these contracts going around from the studio lawyer to the artist’s lawyer, and I’m assuming he was there to talk to a lawyer about a contract.
Cosby came back to where the secretaries were and said, “I’m going to be on Hollywood Palace tonight, and I’m going to have a party at my home afterwards.” So he invited me, and I went.
Did you think it was unusual for him to invite you to his house?
No, it was supposed to be a party, and the agency was a very social place. And I was quite an attractive young woman with an A-plus figure and natural blonde hair, blue eyes. I was always compared to Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie. I was frequently invited to parties. At an agency like that, back in those days, being attractive was one of the reasons you got hired. Like stewardesses.
What happened when you got to the house?
When I arrived at his house — it was probably around 10 p.m. — I was surprised that there was no one else there. He was very well liked at the agency, and so I expected others to be there. But no one else arrived.
But you went in.
Yes, I remember the front of the house was brick and it had a slight Tudor design. It was in Brentwood or Bel Air — they all start with a “B.”
He said that his wife was out of town, but he brought me in and into one bedroom where there was an infant child in the crib. He actually showed me, a very young baby. The child was fast asleep. He seemed so proud of it. He wanted to show me his little baby. I don’t know where the nanny or maid was, but someone had to be there, because he had come from Hollywood Palace.
We went out into the kitchen. He proceeded to pour some bourbon. I drank a bourbon-and-7 at the time. I could really hold my liquor. I’m Irish. And I had a couple of those — just two — and then I just don’t remember much.
What do you remember?
Well, off his kitchen was a pool, and I somehow ended up around that pool for a while.
Was it supposed to be a pool party? Were you in a bathing suit?
No, no. I was wearing nylon stockings and high heels and a dress. This was 1965, and that’s what you wore to a party. So, I ended up by the pool, and, well, I was in quite a foggy state. I have vague memories of someone walking next to me at the pool, and the next day, I realized that the bottoms of my nylons were completely tore up. Not just a run, but tore up. So I must have been walking around the pool for quite a while.
Off the pool in one direction was a bedroom. Whether it was his bedroom or a guest bedroom, I really don’t know, but I think it was not the master bedroom, because there really wasn’t much to it.
And somehow, I wound up in that bed.
Did you lose consciousness at some point?
Yes, I completely passed out. At that age, two bourbon-and-7s would not have knocked me out cold, believe me. In those days, I could drink most men under the table. It was a standard eight-ounce glass, and they were not overly strong, or I would have noticed it.
He must have drugged me. There is just one point at which I was having a drink and feeling normal and the next I was somehow passed out completely. He must have slipped something into my drink. It’s the only way to go lights-out like that.
When did you wake up?
It was all foggy, and I woke up in the bed. I found myself on the bed, and he had his shirt off. He had unzipped his pants. I was just coming to.
He was attempting to force me into oral sex. He had his hand on my head. He had his cock out, and he had my head pushed close enough to it — I just remember looking at his stomach hair. And the hair on his chest. I had never seen a black man naked before.
And it never went past that. I immediately came to and was immediately very sick. I pushed myself away and ran to the bathroom and threw up. I was feeling really ill. And I never got sick like that from alcohol, at least not that small of an amount.
Once I threw up — it was five in the morning by now, I think — I left the bathroom and he wasn’t there. I don’t know where he went. But I left right away. I was able to drive myself home. I didn’t live that far away.
And what did you do the next day?
I showed up at work at 9 a.m., actually. I asked two of my girlfriends in the office why no one came to the house. I more or less got the sort of tip of a head, shake of a shoulder … It was sort of a body language communication, but nothing verbal. Sort of a looking away. Sometimes you know something but don’t want to say anything.
What were your interactions with him like after that?
I never saw him again in my life. And not long after that, I resigned and went to work for a law firm, and then I got married. Every time I saw him on TV, I thought this isn’t the good guy that he’s portrayed to be.
Did you tell anyone about it?
Not for a long time. I didn’t want to bring it up. I was embarrassed. How did that happen? I was embarrassed that I had put myself in that position, because the woman always blames herself, right?
But eventually you did say something.
Yes. When Andrea Constand brought her lawsuit against Cosby, I decided to come forward to her attorneys. I didn’t think I was damaged, so there wouldn’t be any lawsuit coming from me. I don’t need money or aggravation. I’m very wealthy, so I have nothing to gain. But I wanted to come forward to tell the truth to back up other people.
Their stories are all the same. Suddenly, I was passed out, and the next thing I know, there he is. It’s almost like he wants you awake. He waits.
So I spoke with a lawyer in the Constand case. I was one of those Jane Does. And then they settled it, and I got a letter from Constand’s lawyer saying thank you very much.
Until I read about Andrea, I never really had a reason to tell anyone about it. But when I read about her, she’s getting called a liar, and I don’t like that. So I am going to say these people are not the only ones. And now that more women are coming forward and people are calling them liars, I decided to come forward again.
Were you ever deposed?
No, they said I may be deposed, but I wasn’t. They told me that I may be subjected to a lot of hostility or bad publicity, and I said, That’s fine. I’m telling the truth. That’s fine.
Do you know any of the other accusers, the Jane Does or otherwise?
No, no I don’t. I never met any of them. Never spoke with them.
And you never told anyone else but the lawyer?
Well, I did tell — I was living with the man I am now married to — I did tell him when the Constand case came up. I told him I was going forward.
What do you want to see happen now?
I’ve done what I thought was the right thing for me to do. I’ve come forward. But I am not trying to drive a process.
These things catch up with you eventually. Kind of wants you to lead an honest life. It all catches up. And now this is catching up with him.
As of Friday morning, Kristina Ruehli was the tenth woman to come forward publicly with allegations against Bill Cosby. Cosby’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment, and, in recent weeks, Cosby and his legal team have refused to comment on any allegations.
The Bill Cosby Accusers
In 2005, former Temple employee Andrea Constand accuses Cosby of “inappropriate touching.” She claims that the year before, he “touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated” her after giving her some “herbal” pills to relax her. Cosby’s legal team calls the claim “plainly bizarre” and “utterly preposterous.” Later, after Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor declines to file charges against Cosby, Constand filed a civil suit against the comedian and reportedly had 13 Jane Does available to testify that Cosby had done similar things to them. The case was later settled.
During an interview on the Today show in February 2005, a woman named Tamara Green claims that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her some 20 years prior. The Cosby legal team says “absolutely false.”
In June 2005, Beth Ferrier accuses Cosby of drugging her in the 1980s. She claims that she woke up in a car and that her “bra was undone.”
In June 2006, Barbara Bowman tells Philadelphia magazine writer Bob Huber that Cosby assaulted her. “I was screaming and crying and yelling and begging him to stop,” she said.
Last weekend, eight years after the most recent allegation had surfaced, Joan Tarshis claims that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her twice in 1969.
On November 18th, the former supermodel tells Entertainment Tonight that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982.
On November 20th, Florida nurse Therese Serignese tells the Huffington Post that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1976.
On November 20th, Carla Ferrigno — wife of Lou Ferrigno — tells the Daily Mail that Cosby attacked her in 1967. “[H]e came at me and grabbed me in such a powerful way,” she alleges. “Grabbing me. I had never been treated so roughly and he pulled me hard to him, so hard. He was much bigger than me … I had never been treated so roughly … No one has ever been that physically violent to me.”
On November 21st, actress Angela Leslie tells the New York Daily News that Cosby forced her to fondle his penis in 1992.
On November 21st, Kristina Ruehli tells Philadelphia magazine that Cosby drugged and tried to sexually assault her in 1965. This is the earliest alleged incident to surface.