The Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

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The Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

It seems pretty clear the career of Bill Cosby is over, with the cancellation of numerous live performances in various venues, plus the fact NBC pulled the plug on a possible series starring him. However, what isn’t clear is whether he’ll face any charges for the rape allegations against him.  

Will Bill Cosby Face the Allegation Charges for Rape?

In November, 2014, Martin Singer, Bill Cosby’s attorney, called the rape allegation claims made by the accusers against his client “past the point of absurdity.”

“These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years,” said Singer. “Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.”

Singer further stated, “This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end?”

Among the numerous women who have come forward with sexual assault allegations are model Janice Dickinson, Carla Ferrigno, manager and wife of actor Lou Ferrigno, the star of the TV show “Incredible Hulk,” actress Louisa Moritz of “Love, American Style,” and Theresa Serignese, a nurse.

So far, 36 women have come out publicly accusing Bill Cosby of inappropriate sexual behavior and rape allegations.

While at first the allegations seemed difficult to believe, especially since numerous friends and previous co-stars rushed to his defense to discredit these charges, now these allegations seem difficult to deny.

Court Documents of Previous Rape Allegations Unsealed

A judge unsealed court documents recently relating to a 2005 civil lawsuit Andrea Constand filed, which revealed Bill Cosby admitting to procuring Quaaludes which he intended to use to drug women so he could use them for sex.

In a sworn deposition, Bill Cosby answered questions Andrea Constand’s attorney Dolores Troiani asked.

“When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” asked Troiani.

“Yes,” replied Cosby.

“Did you ever give any of those young women the Quaaludes without their knowledge?” asked Troiani.

At this point, Bill Cosby’s attorney objected, instructing him to not answer the question.

Even though Bill Cosby has admitted to getting several Quaaludes prescriptions in order to use them on young women he intended to have sex with, he has not admitted that he actually used the Quaaludes to drug any of the 36 women who have come forward with the rape allegations.

Although Cosby admits he gave “other people” drugs, when Troiani started asking about whether he had given these “other people” Quaaludes with the knowledge they were illegal, his attorney interjected yet again, saying his client had acknowledge only of giving them to a woman whose name was redacted.

Later Bill Cosby testified he “misunderstood. Woman, meaning (the woman whose name is redacted), not women.”

In spite of this, why has Cosby never been charged criminally?

Apparently there is no legal remedy for the comedian’s accusers because the statute of limitations for his actions have past in just about all the states the accusations have been raised in.

Statute of Limitations for Rape and Tolling Provisions

A Statute of Limitation is defined as a law forbidding prosecutors from charging somebody with a crime that has been committed over a specified amount of years in order to ensure convictions happen only using physical or eyewitness evidence that has not deteriorated over a specified time.

However, where sexual abuse cases are concerned there are a number of provisions called “tolling provisions.” Tolling provisions are suspensions of certain aspects of a statute. Some states have a tolling provision called “delayed discovery.”

Delayed discovery refers to a victim’s repressed memory about an event, such as the psychological effect that occurs with sexual abuse. The statute is said to be “un-suspended” when a victim then consciously remembers that an event of sexual abuse has occurred.

While tolling provisions are helpful, they can also be incredibly strict. If a victim has indicated they were aware something wrong happened when the crime was committed, or shortly after, this tolling provision exception cannot then be used in order to suspend or delay the statute.

Because of this, it can only be used if it can be applied to people with completely repressed memories.

For victims that don’t realize they’ve been abused, they normally have approximately three years in order to file a claim of sexual assault. The time they have to file depends on the laws of the state in which the complaint is filed.

Due to the fact that Bill Cosby’s accusers realized shortly after the alleged act had happened that they had been raped, this tolling provision does not apply to any of them.

Statute of Limitations in New York

New York in 2006 abolished their existing statue of limitations regarding sex crimes occurring in the state. However, since the rape allegations crimes occurred when the old statute of limitations existed, Bill Cosby’s accusers have been unable to file their claims against him.

As time goes on more states in the U.S. are getting rid of statues of limitations regarding sex crimes, due to the fact that these statutes have clearly been unjust. These laws are just not realistic where it involves the terms relating to crimes being committed.

Sexual abuse victims are often traumatized, ashamed, and scared to come forward years and sometimes decades after the crime was committed. When faced with the possibility of coming face-to-face in court with their abuser, many times victims prefer to remain quiet.

Their reaction is complicated by the following statistics:

  • Approximately 4 out of 5 rapes are committed by somebody the victim knows.
  • 82% of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger.
  • 47% of rapists are done by an acquaintance or friend.
  • 25% or rapes occur with somebody the victim is intimate with.
  • 5% or rapes are committed by a relative.

Since statues of limitations only permits a few years in which victims can file claims, they ignore the fact that there is intense psychological fear preventing victims of abuse from coming forward to file claims in the first place. These same fears always prevent victims from going to a hospital immediately after the crime in order to preserve any physical evidence. This situation makes it almost impossible to prosecute sexual abuse cases, resulting in trials becoming “he said/she” said arguments.

Cosby’s Rape Allegations and His Unsealed Documents

For Bill Cosby’s accusers, they may have a silver lining due to the unsealed court documents. These documents may preserve the necessary corroborating evidence needed to add credibility to these women’a sexual allegations. They may even permit these women to finally get their day in court to bring these charges of sexual abuse against the comedian.

In the most recently released document, Bill Cosby even admits he obtained the Quaaludes, outlawed in 1984, in order to keep the prescriptions for the sole purpose to give them to women he wanted to have sex with.

An Alternative Charge of Bill Cosby’s Rape Allegations

Because dozens of women in multiple states have accused Bill Cosby of raping them, the Department of Justice could legally bring federal criminal charges against him for serial rape. In the federal court system, statutes of limitations do not exist for sex abuse cases, and the sex allegations charges against him fall under the federal description defining what sex abuse is.

Since states usually retain jurisdiction for most sex abuse cases, and they are tried on a state level, in this case it could result in the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment being violated because of the statutes of limitation. Filing a federal lawsuit means every woman who is accusing Bill Cosby of sexual abuse will be able to have their claim heard.

The statute in title 18 of the U.S. Code, section 109A, reads, “whoever causes another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear …. or engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person is … physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, that sexual act; or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

Most of Bill Cosby’s accusers have alleged he rendered them physically helpless by using drugs, then raped them. Some cases even indicate his accusers were minors at the time he allegedly abused them. While there is lack of physical evidence, there are the unsealed court documents and Cosby’s sworn testimony admitting he acquired the Quaaludes in order to drug women for sex. A federal case could encourage other women to come forward, not just in the Bill Cosby case, but in other sex abuse cases as well.

The minimum sentence for federal sex abuse crimes is twenty years to life.

Working with Sevens Legal, APC

If you have been charged with sexual abuse, you and your Sevens Legal, APC, attorney will discuss the specifics of the allegations, inform you of your case’s strengths and weaknesses, and the risks associated with conviction and punishment. Your criminal defense attorney will help negotiate a plea deal or help decide whether it’s in your best interest to move forward to trial. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.

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