Bill Cosby faces multiple civil lawsuits for sexual assault – Civil Law
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Former Hollywood actor and comedian Bill Cosby is back in the courtroom, this time after he allegedly sexually assaulted someone who was considered a minor in California.
The former celebrity was released from federal prison last year when her criminal conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand was overturned.
Now Mr Cosby faces a civil suit brought by a woman named Judy Huth, who claims the former star sexually assaulted her at the Playboy mansion when she was 16.
Ms Huth sued in 2014 – when Cosby was facing multiple sexual assault charges – but the case was delayed pending the finalization of criminal cases.
She claims in court documents that she and a friend met Bill Cosby in a park. She claims that a few days later, Cosby took the couple to play tennis and fed them booze, before taking them to the Playboy mansion.
Huth claims Cosby assaulted her at the mansion, “putting his hand down her pants, then taking her hand in his and engaging in a sexual act without consent.”
However, there are notable inconsistencies regarding the dates on which Ms Huth alleges the assault took place.
She initially claimed it happened in 1974 but later said it happened in 1975 when she was 16 and Mr Cosby was 37.
The legal age of sexual consent in California is 18.
An ongoing civil case
After Cosby was released and statutes of limitations on possible new criminal charges expired, Ms Huth’s civil case resumed and is currently in court in Los Angeles.
It should last two weeks.
More than 50 women across the United States have accused Mr. Cosby of sexual assault and other forms of misconduct.
The entertainer was arrested in 2015 for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at her suburban Philadelphia home nearly 11 years earlier.
A jury ultimately convicted him in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against the plaintiff.
Mr Cosby served three years of a three- to 10-year prison sentence, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that a ‘non-prosecution agreement’ involving a former prosecutor meant he was not never should have been charged in the first place.
The court also ruled out a new trial.
The “non-prosecution agreement”
In 2005, when Mr Cosby was investigated over Ms Constand’s complaint, a Montgomery County district attorney assured that he would not face criminal charges over the allegations.
It was then announced in a press release at the time that an investigation had found “insufficient” evidence to prosecute the artist criminally.
This led to Mr. Cosby giving evidence in a civil case brought against him by Ms. Constand, which was settled in 2006 for $3.38 million.
During his civil testimony, Mr Cosby admitted to giving quaaludes to the women he was suing for sex, and that evidence played a key role in his prosecution, which resumed just days before the deadline expired 12-year statute of limitations during which charges could be brought.
The charge included additional allegations from women who claimed they were also drugged and sexually assaulted.
After carefully reviewing the course of the case, including that a prosecution may never have occurred if Cosby refused to testify during the civil proceedings, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that “the subsequent decision of prosecutors in successors district to sue Mr. Cosby violated Mr. Cosby’s due process rights.”
In other words, the court found that Mr. Cosby relied on the promise given to him by the district attorney in 2005, testified to his own detriment, and that it was a violation of his rights. then use this proof. to support a criminal prosecution.
Cosby faces multiple civil lawsuits
The civil case brought by Ms Constand is one of many brought by women against Mr Cosby, but the first to go to trial.
Another civil lawsuit in New Jersey is pending. It was filed by a former Cosby Show actress who alleges that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in Atlantic City in 1990.
Up to 60 women have made sexual abuse allegations against the former star.
Although the statute of limitations for criminal charges in Ms Huth’s case has long since expired, she is able to seek damages due to a recent California law which extended the time during which victims of child sexual abuse can sue civilly.
Statute of limitations and age of consent in New South Wales
Unlike the United States, there is no time period in New South Wales during which prosecution must be brought in serious criminal cases, such as sexual assault and other “indictments”. In other words, there is no “statute of limitation” or “statute of limitation” for these types of cases.
The age of sexual consent in New South Wales is generally 16, except for children in “special care” where the age is increased to 18. This last period – which corresponds to the age of consent in California – is enshrined in sections 73 and 73A of the Crimes Act 1900.
In 2016, laws were enacted in New South Wales removing limitations for civil cases related to historical sexual assault allegations.
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