19:27, June 22 314 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-22 19:27:03
Bill Cosby plans to teach young people how to not get accused of sexual assault

Just days after his sexual assault case ended in a mistrial, Bill Cosby wants to embark on a series of “town halls” to speak to young people about sexual assault – specifically, it seems, how to avoid an accusation.

That’s the impression two spokespeople for the disgraced comedian gave when they appeared Thursday on a local news show in Alabama.

“Mr Cosby wants to get back to work,” said one of Cosby’s representatives, Andrew Wyatt. “Because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today. And they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.”

Laughing, he added, “And it also affects married men.”

“Laws are changing,” added Ebonee Benson, another spokesperson. “The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended. So, this is why people need to be educated on – a brush against a shoulder. Anything, at this point, can be considered sexual assault, and it’s a very good thing to be educated about the law.”

Nearly 60 women have accused Cosby of inappropriate behavior ranging from unwanted sexual touching to rape, often with the aid of drugs that left them incapacitated. Cosby has denied all of their accusations. In some cases he has acknowledged having sexual contact, which he says was consensual.

On Saturday, a judge declared a mistrial in Cosby’s only criminal prosecution. His accuser, Andrea Constand, said he drugged and molested her in his Pennsylvania mansion in 2004. Cosby was charged just before the statute of limitations ran out, something that has prevented nearly all of his other accusers from confronting him in court.

Reacting to the idea of a Cosby town hall tour, Jodi Omear, the vice-president of communications for Rainn, an anti-sexual violence group, said, “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.”