Georgia's Spelman College ends professorship tied to Bill Cosby

Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:54pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Spelman College in Georgia has discontinued a professorship named after disgraced comedian Bill Cosby and returned the money meant to pay for it, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

The move by the historically black women's liberal arts college in Atlanta is the latest blow to Cosby, whose career has been wrecked by allegations from more than 40 women who say they were raped or molested after he plied them with drugs or alcohol in incidents dating back decades.

"The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship at Spelman College has been discontinued and funds related to the professorship have been returned," spokeswoman Audrey Arthur said in a terse emailed statement.

The statement did not say how much money was returned. Cosby and his wife Camille donated $20 million to the school in 1988, some of which was used to endow the professorship. The funds were also used to build an academic center named after Camille Cosby.

Cosby, 78, has never been criminally charged in any of the cases, and his attorneys say his testimony in a deposition recently released from a civil case he settled with one of his accusers has been distorted.

Last week, the entertainer lost a bid to fend off a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974, when the California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the comedian's petition to review the case.

The accuser's attorney, Gloria Allred, said the decision cleared the way for litigation brought by Judy Huth, now in her 50s, to proceed, and that she intended to take Cosby's sworn deposition within the next 30 days.

There was no immediate response from Cosby or his lawyers, who have consistently denied allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against the performer.

The setbacks for Cosby came as his defense team mounted a new public relations blitz on his behalf.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by Eric Walsh)

 
Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson