Bill Cosby’s alleged rape victims have surfaced this year to accuse him of sexual misconduct, but the statute of limitations on most of these claims have already expired, and it looks like it will be difficult for the victims to take their cases to court.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 20, 2015
Andrea Constand’s case, however, is an exception. In 2005, Constand publicly accused Cosby of drugging and molesting her. Her police report also stated that the actor forced her to touch him intimately at his mansion in January of 2004. The alleged victim still has until January 2016 to charge the defendant, under Pennsylvania’s 12-year-statute of limitations. Her case was once investigated and closed because of her lack of memory concerning the details of the sexual abuse. But Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman has yet to confirm whether the rape case is being reviewed.
In a statement made on Friday, Ferman said, “I believe prosecutors have a responsibility to review past conclusions, whether their own or a predecessor’s, when current information might lead to a different decision.”
Constand has been restricted from talking about her allegations in public after settling the issue with Cosby. But in July, she asked a judge in Philadelphia to nullify her confidentiality agreement with the actor.
Students in the Beasley School of Law who have followed Cosby’s case, expressed their opinions on the statute of limitations concerning the alleged rape victims.
Kevin Cunningham believes there should not be a statute of limitations when it comes to the alleged rape victims of the veteran actor. “If you can establish a case at any point in history, then the statute of limitations should not exist in sexual assault cases,” Cunningham explained.
— GeosNews Philly (@GeosNewsPhilly) September 29, 2015
Jennifer Caraway, who has worked with homicide cases in the past, came up with reasons why victims of sexual assault do not report the incident right away. She said that the victims were young and were probably scared. She concluded: “The statute of limitations should toll for a certain amount of time.” She added that because there was a gap from the time the incident happened and Constand’s police report, no DNA evidence was obtained. With the lack of DNA evidence, it would be more difficult to charge the offender.
Another student named Imani Hudson-Hill thinks that the number of women coming forward to press charges against the actor should be enough to proceed with the case. Since the statute of limitations for most alleged victims have already expired, some of them are filing defamation suits instead. Janice Dickinson, claimed Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982 at a resort. Her statute of limitations for a criminal case has expired, but she is suing the 78-year-old actor for defamation.
Dickinson’s suit claims that Cosby drugged and raped her, which mirrors Constand’s and more than ten other Jane Doe’s claims. However, she was defamed in November last year when Cosby’s team denied her accusations and called her a liar in public statements to the media.
Kaprisha Vallecillo, Dickinson’s attorney insists that Cosby should be deposed. Vallecillo said the actor has been suppressing the truth by branding “his victims as liars through his attorneys.”
Bill Cosby’s case inspired Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to make changes to the statute of limitations in his state. On Monday, Sandoval signed a bill that would help victims of sexual assault. Assembly Bill 212 aims to extend the statute of limitations for bringing to court their rape charges from four years to 20 years.
Lise-Lotte Lublin, a Nevada resident alleged that Cosby also drugged and raped her 20 years ago, but when she filed charges against the actor last year, she was told the statute of limitations had ended.
[Images by Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images]