Dean Obeidallah: Bill Cosby likely won't face charges in sex assault allegations
He asked on social media: What do we want from Cosby?
Some said give money to rape prevention programs, apologize, compensate alleged victims
Obeidallah: Unlikely Cosby will address the issue, but one good thing: Our awareness is raised
Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog “The Dean’s Report.” He’s also the co-director of the documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!” Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
By now, we have all heard the allegations made by numerous women that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them. At least 15 have accused him of abuse, with the first incident in the late 1960s and the last in 2004.
While his attorneys have denied most of these assertions, Cosby has publicly refused to comment. In fact just a few weeks ago, Cosby not only declined to answer an Associated Press reporter’s question about the claims, he told the reporter that he would appreciate it if any reference to the allegations not appear in the story.
So now what? Well, it’s not likely Cosby will be criminally prosecuted. The only alleged incident that clearly falls within the criminal statute of limitations is the one involving Andrea Constand. That event purportedly took place in 2004 in Pennsylvania, a state that provides victims with 12 years to file a criminal complaint in sexual assault cases.
But don’t count on seeing a criminal action. In part, because the prosecutor didn’t find sufficient evidence to prosecute back in 2005. In addition, Cosby paid an undisclosed sum to Constand in 2006 to settle the civil lawsuit arising from the alleged sexual assault. I can tell you as a former trial lawyer that that civil settlement would have, without a doubt, included a release by Constand of all claims against Cosby, including criminal.
Cosby’s career has been deeply damaged by the ongoing scandal and he has been denounced pretty much everywhere.
Is there something that he could do now that could persuade the millions of people who were once his fans to potentially see him again as a comedian, not as a serial rapist – which is how I now see him?
I posed this question on social media: What do we want from Bill Cosby now?
The responses revealed an interesting cross section of opinion from men and women on all sides of the issue. And while they varied greatly, a common theme emerged. But before I mention that one, here are some of the often thought-provoking comments I received in response to the question.