Criminal Justice

Charges against Bill Cosby 'scraped in under the wire'

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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby. Image from Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com.

Prosecutors in a Philadelphia suburb charged Bill Cosby with three counts of second-degree aggravated indecent assault last week, just weeks before the statute of limitations would have barred prosecution.

Cosby is accused in the alleged January 2004 rape of a Temple University employee whom he was mentoring, the New York Times reported. Prosecutors allege Cosby provided the woman with pills and wine that left her paralyzed and unable to give consent. The woman had filed and settled a civil suit against Cosby.

Cosby posted $1 million bail and pleaded not guilty.

The charges came after a federal judge ordered the release this summer of a deposition in the alleged victim’s civil suit. In the deposition, Cosby admitted securing Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women with whom he hoped to have sex.

According to the Washington Post, prosecutors “scraped in under the wire” with the charges. The case highlights the “legal expiration dates that vary widely across states and create pressure to build a prosecutable case with sometimes limited evidence,” the article says.

The time limits in the 34 states with statutes of limitations for rape or sexual assault range from three to 30 years, according to this New York Times op-ed supporting elimination of time limits for rape charges.

“The differing statutes of limitations across state lines create a ZIP code lottery,” says the op-ed by lawyer Jill Filipovic. “Where a person is assaulted shouldn’t determine whether she gets justice.”

Related article:

New York Times: “Experts Foresee Obstacles for Both Sides in Bill Cosby Case”

Subsequent articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Bill Cosby won’t be charged in Los Angeles”

ABAJournal.com: “Will judge in Cosby criminal case allow similar rape claims as evidence?”

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