After facing allegations of sexual assault from dozens of women, fending off lawsuits for months, Bill Cosby was finally criminally charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault in Montgomery County, PA. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison but a conviction will surely ride not so much on the evidence in the Pennsylvania case – but the evidence of the dozens of other allegations of similar sexual assaults perpetrated by Cosby over the years. The problem for the prosecution, however, is that such evidence may not be admitted, rendering the present case weak, at best.
Statute of Limitations – The Case Barely Made It In Under the Wire
To begin, this will be the only criminal charge against Cosby despite the dozens of accusations across the country – solely because the statute of limitations for sexual assault in Pennsylvania is 12 years, which means this present case barely made it in under the wire, as the accusations date back to January 2004. Every other accusation is decades old and no criminal prosecutions can be brought, for good reason: defendants deserve to have their accusers make their claims within a reasonable period of time: in most states, five years, as it becomes much more difficult to defend against allegations which go back decades. Evidence is stale, potential witnesses cannot be located, memories fade, etc.
And an accusation made years after the alleged crime also hurts the prosecution as it is fertile ground for impeachment of an alleged victim. Why wait decades or even a few years to go to the police with a claim of sexual assault? That being said, the accusation made by the Pennsylvania accuser was timely brought, soon after the alleged assault; however, back in 2005 the prosecutors refused to charge Cosby, alleging lack of evidence. Rebuffed by the prosecutors, the accuser brought a civil claim against Cosby and settled for an undisclosed amount; surely, the settlement document did not require Cosby to admit liability so it is doubtful it will have any bearing on the present criminal case.
The Evidence Which Exists – In the Present Criminal Case
Standing alone, the present allegations are weak and any reasonably skilled criminal attorney would have a great chance at an acquittal. While Cosby has admitted under oath in the previously filed civil litigation to giving Quaaludes to “young women” he wished to have sex with in the ‘70s, there was never an admission that it was done without their consent (either the drugs or the sex) or that the women were underage. In addition, Cosby apparently had a lawful prescription for the Quaaludes. And remember: decades ago, Quaaludes were believed to be an aphrodisiac that consenting adults often used prior to sex. Nevertheless, the accuser in the criminal case – and in the many other allegations of sexual assault against Cosby – claimed to have been drugged prior to being assaulted.
But there is very little helpful evidence for the prosecution in this criminal case if the evidence is limited to this one accuser and her story: Cosby made repeated blatant sexual advances toward the accuser including unbuttoning her pants – and yet she kept going back to his house, alone, for more of the same. It defies logic to believe that a young woman who was on the receiving end of continuing unwanted sexual advances would continue going back to Cosby’s house – alone. And during the last visit, Cosby pointedly told her beforehand that it would just be the two of them alone in the house. Admittedly “drained” and “emotionally occupied” – whatever that means – the accuser visited Cosby again and it was during that visit that Cosby allegedly gave her some “blue pills” which she voluntarily took without asking what they were. The pills purportedly caused her to black out, allowing Cosby the chance to sexually assault her. According to her. Standing alone, without chemical evidence, a confession and no corroboration of the accuser’s story, this case could not be much weaker: a seemingly enthusiastic victim who kept going back for more, voluntarily taking pills even after repeated, unwanted sexual advances, even as she suffered through some emotional or psychological episode. (Continued…)