Cosby charged with sexual assault

The Washington Post:

For the first time, Bill Cosby will face criminal charges in connection with an accusation of sexual assault, Montgomery County prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced on Wednesday.

Prosecutors charged Cosby with aggravated indecent assault, a first degree felony, First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a morning press conference. The single charge stems from an alleged sexual assault in early 2004.

“Today, after examination of all the evidence, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim,” Steele said. Prosecutors launched a new investigation into the allegations against Cosby after new information about the case emerged in July, he said. The 12-year statute of limitations to file felony charges in connection to those allegations expires in January.

It was the second investigation to examine allegations that the comedian drugged and assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand first accused Cosby a year after the alleged assault, but at the time, prosecutors declined to press charges.

It will be a difficult prosecution because of the long time gap – but prosecutors might be able to argue the judge into allowing evidence of other allegations against Cosby.

Under rules of evidence in Pennsylvania, prosecutors can introduce allegations brought by the other women if those allegations establish a mode of operation or pattern of behavior by Cosby. While a judge could rule against prosecutors, the process of determining whether that evidence is admissible will involve court hearings and never-before-heard testimony from the other alleged victims of the famed comedian and father figure.

“The chances that they can keep this testimony off the public record is poor because the case hinges on these other allegations,” Coburn said. “This is going to be devastating to his reputation.”

And that might put a dent in this disgusting culture of impunity for celebrities. That would be good.

Cosby acknowledged in a 2005 deposition that he intended to give drugs to young women with whom he wanted to have sex. His admission that he obtained Quaaludes to use on women was contained in a 10-year-old deposition given by the legendary comedian in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno unsealed those records for the first time in July, writing that Cosby “has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education, and crime. To the extent that Defendant has freely entered the public square and ‘thrust himself into the vortex of [these public issues],’ he has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim.”

Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy model who alleged that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1970, said news of the criminal case is vindication for the women who have come forward with similar allegations.

“We knew what the truth is and we made a decision to stand our ground and we were not going to be silenced anymore,” said Valentino, now a nursing school instructor in California who first told her story to The Post last year. “We were not going allow the shame and the blame and the humiliation and the fear of the crime that was perpetrated on us to silence us any longer.”

In 1970. 45 years ago. For 45 years or more he’s gotten away with it.

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