Sisters’ allegations combined in Smothers case
An El Dorado County Superior Court judge agreed to combine the complaints brought by two sisters alleging childhood sexual abuse by their former stepfather, comedian Tommy Smothers. The women are seeking monetary and punitive damages from Smothers for alleged incidents of childhood sexual abuse while Smothers was married to their mother in the early 1970s.
Alana Monson DeLima, 27, of Yerington, Nev., filed an action against Smothers in March of 1996 alleging that on at least three separate occasions, when she was about 4 years old, Smothers touched her inappropriately. Two of those times, DeLima claims, occurred while the family was vacationing at Lake Tahoe. Her sister, Murlyne Wilcock, 30, filed her complaint in September 1997 alleging sexual abuse on at least one occasion.
At the end of December, William Cole, the attorney for DeLima and Wilcock, filed a motion to consolidate the two cases. Judge Suzanne Kingsbury granted Cole’s motion this month.
Attorneys for Smothers argued that motion was an attempt to bolster DeLima’s credibility. In her deposition, DeLima admitted to being a recovering alcoholic and having been addicted to methamphetamine. Wilcock, a housewife and mother of four, resides in North Ogden, Utah, with her husband of more than 11 years and has no history of drug abuse. Smothers’ attorneys contend that DeLima’s claims were fabricated as part of an attempt to extort money from Smothers.
“This is not a case of repressed memory. Both of these women have recalled these incidents of childhood sexual abuse and related them to friends for years – one as young as when she was 10 years old,” Cole said. “To believe that this is a conspiracy you would have to believe they formulated and began to execute this plan when they were children.”
In sworn depositions filed with the court, some of DeLima’s childhood friends testified that she related the incidents of sexual abuse by Smothers when she was still a child.
“Regarding the allegations of substance abuse, I believe expert testimony will show that substance abuse is not uncommon among adults who were victims of childhood sexual abuse,” Cole added.
In a deposition for her sister’s case, Wilcock testified that she believes the alleged abuse negatively impacted her sexual development and her ability to trust, especially in regards to relationships with men. Although she could only testify specifically to one incident, Wilcock said she believes there were other episodes.
Dale Kinsella, Smothers’ attorney of the Los Angeles law firm Kinsella, Boesch, Fujikawa, and Towle, said the judge’s decision to consolidate will not have a great impact against his client.
“It is just one of many motions that will be heard before the judge prior to the time of trial,” Kinsella said.
During Smothers’ deposition he denied every allegation made by his former stepdaughters.
A trial date for the case has not been set. The two sides are scheduled to meet for a status conference later this month.
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