MONROE COUNTY (WKBW) — A lawsuit has been filed in Monroe County Court under the Child Victims Act against former Buffalo Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett, the Buffalo Bills and the NFL that accuses Bennett of sexual assault in 1992.
According to the lawsuit, “repeated acts of sexual abuse, harassment and violence” allegedly occurred in the summer of 1992 when the plaintiff was 17-years-old.
The lawsuit states the plaintiff was selling flowers at a bar in Rochester called the Otter Lodge when members of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Jills, including Bennett, arrived at the bar wearing official team jerseys and equipment for an official event hosted by the Bills and NFL as part of their jobs.
It is alleged in the lawsuit that Bennett approached the plaintiff while she was working and made sexual comments. According to the lawsuit, she refused Bennett's sexual advances and tried to get away by going to the “resting area” in the basement but he allegedly followed her.
It is further alleged that while in the basement Bennett pushed the victim into a phone booth and sexually assaulted her. Despite multiple requests for Bennett to stop he allegedly tried to remove her dress and underwear and only stopped when he heard someone coming down the stairs. The incident allegedly lasted five minutes and Bennett went back upstairs.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff sustained “permanent trauma and emotional damage," has “struggled throughout her adult life," and has had to pay for medical and psychological treatment, therapy and counseling.
The lawsuit states the Bills and the NFL have been named in the lawsuit because:
"By turning a blind eye to actual knowledge of Defendant Bennett’s sexual abuse and harassment, by employing Defendant Bennett, by choosing to place Defendant Bennett in a position wherein he could work unsupervised, and by allowing him access to the patrons of their official event, including Plaintiff, Defendants NFL and/or Buffalo Bills caused Plaintiff to be sexually abused. Defendants negligently placed Plaintiff in danger of bodily harm and caused Plaintiff to suffer extreme physical injury and emotional distress as a result."