Why hasn’t Bill Cosby been charged with a crime? The now-disgraced comedian has been accused of various sexual improprieties by over 40 women–yet he hasn’t been charged with any crime in a criminal court, and likely never will be.
This weekend, while Bill Cosby performed a loudly-protested show in Baltimore, two more women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. They bring the total number of women who’ve made their accusations public to 41–that’s an average of just over eight per month since Hannibal Buress’ rape jokes about Cosby went viral last October. (See the complete and updated list here.)
Cosby himself has rarely addressed the violations, and his attorneys continue to refer to them as fabrications or outright lies, and it seems unlikely that the entertainer will ever speak out on the matter. Why? Because it’s a virtual certainty that Cosby will go uncharged in a court of criminal law, no matter how many more women come forward with eerily similar stories of manipulation, drugs, and unconsensual sexual activity.
The reason for that certainty is simple: The statute of limitations has run out on nearly every single accusation. Of the 41 women, only one–Chloe Goins, a dancer and model who claims Cosby accosted her at a Playboy Mansion party–has a story that took place within the past decade. Goins says she was assaulted in 2008, which is by far the most recent of the assaults.
One other accuser, Andrea Constand, says Cosby drugged and molested her in 2004. The Philadelphia District Attorney who investigated her claims said he felt that Cosby had lied to authorities about what really happened, but that he lacked enough proof to bring a case.
Other than that, all of the accusers stories are simply too old. One took place in 2000; two in the 1990s; fifteen in the 1980s, when Cosby’s fame was at its peak thanks to his television show; fourteen in the 1970s; and seven as far back as the 1960s.
However, state law in California–where many of the stories took place–has an elastic statute of limitations, meaning that the statute lasts as long as what was on the books at the time the abuse took place. The current law, for example, allows for a ten-year provision, meaning that only Goins could bring a lawsuit, and only if a DNA test had confirned Cosby’s identity. The statute was three years in the 1960s, and between three and ten from the 1960s to today.
In addition, any DNA evidence of Cosby’s abuse would have long disappeared, along with any other physical evidence–drugs in the victim’s system, for example, or bruises on her body.
Several women have joined together in a civil lawsuit, and are suing Cosby for damages. They’re represented by famed trial attorney Gloria Allred.
But, as far as criminal charges–the type that could put Cosby behind bars–it seems highly unlikely that any ever could or would be filed.
(Photo credits: Why hasn’t Bill Cosby been charged with a crime via WENN)