Bill Cosby’s trial for sexual assault ended last week in a mistrial after jurors could not come to an agreement on his guilt regarding sexual assault charges.
Now, while waiting for a new trial, the former TV star says he is going to hold a series of talks educating people about sexual assault – not on consent, but on how “young athletes” and “married men” can avoid accusations “when they are doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.”
As CNN reports, Cosby’s publicists Andrew Wyatt and Ebonee Benson announced the move during an interview on news show Good Day Alabama (21 June).
Skipping awareness and prevention in favour of making sure young people know the ins and outs of how long someone has to bring legal proceedings against them, Wyatt said being accused of assault was an “issue” people needed to know how to handle.
Wyatt said: “This issue [of being accused of assault] can affect any young person – especially young athletes of today and they need to know what they are facing when they are hanging out and partying, when they are doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.”
He added: “And it also affects married men.”
Benson went on to say: “The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended, so this is why people need to be educated […] a brush against a shoulder, anything, at this point, can be considered sexual assault. It’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”
Some of the states making extensions, such as Nevada and Colorado, were championed by some of the 58 women who claim Bill Cosby has assaulted them.
Described as ‘town halls’, seemingly implying a level of public service, the talks are expected to begin in Alabama in July.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Wyatt later said the team had received “hundreds of calls from civic organisations and churches” requesting Cosby’s services as a speaker in order to educate people about the judicial system.
He also elaborated on the talks, saying: “People can educate themselves on the situation that they're facing today. Laws are changing. Statute of limitations are being amended.
“It’s important to educate people that you could be at a baseball game and it could be crowded and a young man could try to squeeze through and accidentally touch a young lady's butt or breast by mistake and that could be considered sexual assault. It's imperative that we educate people that want to be educated.”
Cosby’s court case end in a mistrial on 17 June after 52 hours of deliberation; while one juror anonymously told a news outlet that the jury was split down the middle, another said it was 10-2 in favour of finding him guilty.
To date, 58 women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault and he is fighting lawsuits from 10 – seven in Massachusetts and three in California.
Andrea Constand was able to bring her case to criminal court as the statute of limitations had not run out. She testified that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004, and he is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby, 79, says the sex was consensual and in a 2005 deposition, called his actions going “into the area somewhere between permission and rejection”.
Anti-sexual violence organisation RAINN said of his decision to give talks: “It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place.”
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents several of Cosby’s accusers, said the plans “appear to be a transparent and slick effort to attempt to influence the jury pool from which jurors will be selected for his second criminal trial.”
Images: Rex Features