Violence Against Women

Bill Cosby’s Deposition Permitted as Evidence in Sexual Assault Case

On Monday, the judge presiding over Bill Cosby’s criminal case in Pennsylvania ruled that Cosby’s 2005 deposition testimony in which he admitted to drugging and taking advantage of young women can be used against him at trial.

The deposition is from a civil case brought against him in 2004 by Andrea Constand, a former Temple University basketball manager, over the same incident for which Cosby now faces up to three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

In the 2005 deposition testimony, Cosby discloses he was having extramarital affairs and had a supply of the sedative drug Quaaludes that he gave to young women with whom he wanted to have sex.  Cosby goes on to describe committing non-consensual acts on Constand in the testimony, saying “I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and go into the area that is somewhere permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”

Former district attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. allegedly promised that the testimony would not be used against Cosby in a criminal case involving Constand. However, Judge Steven O’Neill found zero evidence citing this to be true, stating “This court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

The trial is set to begin June 5, 2017. If he is found guilty of aggravated indecent assault, Cosby faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

According to the Washington Post, 58 women thus far have come forward to share their alleged experiences of rape or sexual harassment at the hands of Cosby. Two-thirds of the allegations involved drugs and alcohol used as a weapon of assault.

For nearly all of the accusers, the statutes of limitations to file criminal charges against Cosby have expired. This year, many of these women testified before the California legislature in support of the Justice for Victims Act, which was successfully signed into law, eliminating the state’s statute of limitations for prosecuting rape and other felony sex crimes. The law goes into effect January 1, but will not apply retroactively in compliance with the Constitution’s ex post facto clause.

17 other states have already taken the initiative to eliminate this obstructive time constraint for prosecuting sexual predators. It is estimated that only three percent of rapists ever serve jail time for their crimes.

Sources:

CNN 12/5/16, NBC News 12/5/16, The New York Times, The Washington Post 5/23/16, The Trentonian News 12/5/16, Feminist Majority Foundation 10/3/16.

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