Legal proceeding

Cosby charge could open the floodgates for alleged victims to publicly testify

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for his arraignment on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania December 30, 2015. (REUTERS/Mark Makela )

Though dozens of women have come forward with allegations against entertainer Bill Cosby of rape and sexual assault, their claims have been stymied by statutes of limitations that have long expired. But on Wednesday, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations on allegations made by Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who claims Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004, was set to expire, the first and only criminal charge was brought against the disgraced comedian. Though it’s only one charge amid a torrent of accusations, it could have a dramatic effect on the legendary entertainer, now 78 years old, and the outcome of a trial. Prosecutors are bound to call a parade of women whose claims are similar to those made by Constand to establish a pattern of behavior by Cosby. Ultimately, a judge will decide if any or how many women may testify, all of which will make for painstaking and lengthy preliminary hearings. But the outcome could result in many more allegations against Cosby becoming a matter of legal public record rather than, as they’ve largely been to date, accusations hurled through the media. Cosby’s defense team issued a statement late Wednesday suggesting that the charge wasn’t surprising and that it was politically motivated.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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