Former model Heidi Thomas has come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault, saying that she awoke to the comedian “forcing himself in my mouth” in Reno, Nevada in 1984. She was 24 at the time.
Known as Heidi Johnson at the time, Thomas was living in Denver and attempting to kickstart her budding modeling career with JF Images, founded by industry legend Jo “Barricuda” Farrell. In 1984, that break came in the form of Cosby, who was “looking for young talent that he can mentor” at the time.
She says Maloney [an agent at JF Images] told her that she needed to go to Reno, Nevada, because Bill Cosby wanted to work with her -- to coach her and help her act. Maloney died in 1997.
Cosby was performing at Harrah's Hotel and Casino. Thomas says her agent told her she would be staying there and Cosby would probably be doing the coaching in his hotel suite.
Despite some protest from her mother, Greta Lee Johnson, Thomas ended up flying to Reno for the gig with Cosby. A limousine reportedly picked her up at the airport for a ride to a house outside of town owned by a friend of Cosby's “so he doesn’t have to deal with the paparazzi” in Reno. And, from there, Cosby greeted her at the door before giving her a drink:
Thomas says Cosby greeted her at the door of the sprawling house, and later, the coaching began.
She says she performed a monologue, and when she finished, Cosby asked her to do a cold read of a person who was intoxicated.
According to Thomas, Cosby wasn't impressed. Thomas wasn't much of a drinker.
"How are you ever going play an intoxicated person ... if you've never been drunk?" she says he told her.
She says Cosby wanted her to relax, and he gave her a glass of Chablis.
Following that, Thomas says the next few hours were “foggy,” but ultimately she allegedly woke up to Cosby sexually assaulting her:
Thomas says that when she woke up, Cosby was next to her in bed, naked and "forcing himself in my mouth." She says she remembers feeling like she wanted to throw up.
Soon after, Thomas says, Cosby was getting on top of her again and referring to himself in the third person.
"I'm your friend ... your friend is gonna [ejaculate] again," Thomas remembers him saying.
Thomas also said that she was in such shock that she ended up apologizing to Cosby:
Thomas says she remembers eventually storming out of the room and slamming the door, and then apologizing for being "rude." The next thing she can remember is riding with Cosby to his show. She says the rest of her memory is spotty: She recalls a cook offering her strawberries and having wine with Cosby before his show. But, she says, she doesn't remember much more from the four-day trip.
Later, Thomas’ mother, Johnson, claims that her daughter called her shaken up following the alleged incident:
"I remember standing in the kitchen thrilled to hear from my daughter. She was excited." Johnson remembers making some small talk when she said Thomas said something very disturbing.
"I did something wrong and ... I got away and slammed the door," Johnson remembers her daughter telling her.
Johnson says she continued trying to get more information from her daughter on the phone.
"'Did he rape you?' She said, 'No, I got away.' "
Now, more than 30 years after the alleged incident, Thomas says that she wants to “empower people” with her story:
"I was beginning to think though ... that whole keeping-your-silence is a form of acceptance. It's not supporting the women who are coming forward. It's not helping ... and if enough people make enough of a fuss, maybe we can get a culture that starts to listen," Thomas says.
To date, more than 30 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault. He has denied the claims through his reps, and has never faced criminal charges in connection with any of the accusations.