TIME celebrity

Bill Cosby Avoids Sexual Assault Charges in Atlantic City Case

Bill Cosby at the 2014 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala in New York City on May 1, 2014.
D Dipasupil—Getty Images Bill Cosby at the 2014 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala in New York City on May 1, 2014.

Lili Bernard claimed Cosby drugged and raped her in Atlantic City in the 1990s

Comedian Bill Cosby will not be charged following sexual assault charges made by Lili Bernard this past May. The actress claimed Cosby drugged and raped her in Atlantic City in the 1990s, but according to a statement from Cosby’s New Jersey lawyer, Edwin J. Jacobs, charges will not be filed.

“Whatever she was claiming was far beyond the applicable statute of limitations,” Cosby’s New Jersey lawyer Edwin J. Jacobs said in a statement obtained by EW. “That was my analysis and the analysis of the Atlantic County Prosecutor. Ms. Bernard’s lawyer apparently thought other wise, but was wrong.”

While New Jersey does not presently have a statute of limitations on sexual assault cases, the state did before 1996. Jacobs told Press of Atlantic City that the allegations pre-date the law change. As such, the investigation has been terminated and its file closed.

Multiple allegations of sexual assault from over 30 women have come against Cosby since early 2014. The 77-year-old has said he will not address the claims. Cosby has never been charged with a crime.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME celebrities

Rolf Harris Has Written a Derogatory Song About the Victims of His Sexual Assaults

Rolf Harris On Trial  For Alleged Indecent Assault
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images Artist and television personality Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on May 14, 2014

He appears to show no remorse for repeatedly molesting young girls

Australian-born TV personality and musician Rolf Harris, currently in prison in the U.K. for a string of sexual assaults against underage girls, has written a song accusing his victims of being after his money.

The 85-year-old entertainer penned lyrics to the song in a letter from prison, sending them to a shocked friend who promptly passed them on to British tabloid the Mail on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reports.

In the letter, Harris said his “inner rage has come to the fore,” prompting him to write the song (which he says will have a “country rock sound with a heavy backbeat”) about the “injustice of it all.”

The song includes lyrics like “You’ve festered down there long enough/ time’s right to grab your chance … Clap eyes on a rich celebrity and make the bastard dance.” He also uses offensive terms like “perfumed sultry wench” and “slimy little woodworm” to refer to his victims.

Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail last July after being convicted of repeatedly molesting four girls — including his daughter’s best friend — between 1969 and 1986. The actor and singer-songwriter will soon be eligible to apply for parole, but Liz Dux, the lawyer who represented his victims, argues that the song should be grounds for denying him that right and for making him serve his full sentence.

“I am totally revolted by what he has written,” one victim reportedly told the Mail on Sunday. “He has shown no remorse and continues to think he can treat his victims like dirt. His arrogance is beyond belief. I am devastated by reading this and it will set back my recovery at a time when I am trying to rebuild my shattered life.”

[AFP]

TIME India

New Delhi Authorities Backtrack on Controversial Exam for Rape Victims

INDIA-RELIGION-CHRISTIAN-WOMEN-RAPE
SAM PANTHAKY—AFP/Getty Images A woman attends a peace protest in Ahmedabad on March 20, 2015, in the wake of the gang-rape on an elderly nun.

Medical authorities had already recommended against the digital vaginal exam in 2014

Authorities in the Indian capital, New Delhi, have made a hasty about-face after granting local doctors permission to perform digital vaginal examinations on victims of rape and sexual assault. The permission, which appeared to contradict a medical ban, was made in a circular sent to local hospitals, the BBC reports, and drew a fierce backlash.

According to Indian news site Firstpost, the circular described the so-called two-finger test as “essential” and said that forgoing it “would amount to incomplete assessment of the survivor.”

New Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said that criticism of the circular misrepresented authorities’ intentions, which were to seek higher conviction rates. The document also stressed that the “informed consent” of the victim should be sought.

However, India’s Supreme Court ruled that the humiliating and outdated procedure violated a woman’s privacy in 2013. It was subsequently banned by the Department of Health Research and the Indian Medical Council in guidelines issued in 2014.

Despite that, the test is still performed in some parts of India.

Sexual violence, and the harassment of women, have been sensitive topics in India since a brutal 2012 gang rape in Delhi sparked nationwide protests and made headlines around the world.

Following criticism of the circular, Jain clarified that digital vaginal examinations “cannot be performed for ascertaining sexual assaults,” the BBC said.

[BBC]

TIME Sexual Assault

Student Who Carried Mattress in Rape Protest Unveils New Project

Columbia Student Carries Mattress Around Campus Until Her Alleged Rapist Is Expelled
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Emma Sulkowicz, a senior visual arts student at Columbia University, poses with a mattress, which she says she will carry every where she goes in protest of the university's lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year, on September 5, 2014 in New York City. (Andrew Burton--Getty Images)

Performance art video shows a campus assault — though Emma Sulkowicz says it's "not a re-enactment"

A Columbia University student who carried a mattress around campus to protest the administration’s refusal to expel her alleged rapist has made a follow-up project– a performance art video about her alleged rape.

Emma Sulkowicz, who says she was raped by another student in 2012, has become one of the most prominent faces of campus sexual assault because of her senior thesis project — entitled Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight) — about what she considers to be the poor handling of her rape allegations by university authorities.

In a statement accompanying the video, which was first reported by New York, she writes that the video “not a reenactment” of her own rape, but “may seem like one.” The video project is called Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol, translates to “this is not a rape”– an allusion to surrealist Rene Magritte’s famous painting The Treachery of Images, more commonly known as Ceci N’est Pas Un Pipe, or “this is not a pipe.”

Sulkowicz writes on the website for the project that the video is “not about one night in August, 2012.” Instead, she says, “I want to change the world, and that begins with you, seeing yourself. If you watch this video without my consent, then I hope you reflect on your reasons for objectifying me and participating in my rape.”

You can watch the project, which contains graphic scenes, here. On Friday, there appeared to be technical difficulties loading the video.

TIME India

Uber’s Taxi Application Rejected by New Delhi After Sexual Assault Claims

Members of All India Mahila Congress, women's wing of Congress party, shout slogans and carry placards during a protest against the rape of a female passenger, in New Delhi
Anindito Mukherjee—Reuters Members of All India Mahila Congress, women's wing of Congress party, shout slogans and carry placards during a protest against the alleged rape of a female Uber passenger, in New Delhi on Dec. 8, 2014

More bad news for the embattled but ultra-successful company

Uber’s application to operate in New Delhi has been rejected in the wake of alleged sexual assaults committed by drivers working via the ride-sharing app, according to reports.

Letters sent to the company by state authorities detail how Uber failed to comply with the Home Ministry-imposed ban in the wake of the alleged rape of 27-year-old woman by one of its drivers in December last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The driver denies the charge and his trial is ongoing.

But authorities have now sprung into action after a 21-year-old woman accused another Uber driver of sexual assault over the weekend.

Similar applications from two more app-based cab aggregators, OLA cabs and Taxi4Sure, were also rejected by local authorities.

Uber Delhi’s general manager Gagan Bhatia said in statement Wednesday that that the rejection of the company’s license was “unfortunate,” indicating that the company would apply again once federal guidelines were in place for registration.

“We welcome the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with the Delhi government to seek necessary permissions,” Bhatia said, according to the WSJ.

[WSJ]

TIME Television

Here’s What Happened to Other TV Shows Embroiled in Controversy Like 19 and Counting

As the fate of 19 and Counting is debated, a look at the outcomes of similar cases

On Thursday, Josh Duggar, the eldest of the 19 siblings on the TLC reality show 19 and Counting, resigned from his post at the Family Research Council amidst allegations of child molestation. In a statement to PEOPLE, Duggar confirmed that the allegations are true, saying that he is deeply regretful for his actions as a teenager.

In the wake of Duggar’s statement, focus has shifted to TLC, which has yet to make a statement about whether 19 and Counting will continue to air. On Thursday night, as the controversy picked up steam, TLC aired a marathon of the show, causing a minor uproar on social media. On Friday afternoon, the network removed the show from its schedule but still hadn’t confirmed what the future holds in store for the series. As the show’s fate hangs in the balance, many are calling for TLC to permanently cancel it—lodging comparisons to another TLC series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which was pulled in 2014 under similar circumstances.

For insight into what might happen to 19 and Counting—notwithstanding the question of what should happen—here’s a look at the fates of several other TV shows that came under fire when a star became embroiled in allegations of sexual abuse and assault.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: The Toddlers & Tiaras spin-off, which centered on the sassy child beauty pageant star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, ran for four seasons before TLC canceled it, in 2014, in response to allegations that Alana’s mother June was dating a man convicted of child molestation.

As details surfaced, the allegations were confirmed; Alana’s older sister Anna had been the victim. The man, Mark McDaniel, had already served 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated child molestation. TLC had filmed a fifth season of the series, which remains unaired.

7th Heaven: In 2014, seven years after the final episode of the WB family drama—which aired from 1996 until 2007—the New York Police Department began investigating actor Stephen Collins, the show’s fictional patriarch. The police had obtained a recording of a man, alleged to be Collins, confessing to having sexually abused a minor. Two months later, Collins disclosed to PEOPLE that he had, in fact, had “inappropriate sexual conduct with three female minors.”

The television network UP, which had been airing reruns of 7th Heaven since 2012, pulled the series immediately after the allegations surfaced. UP quietly began showing the series again in 2014 in response to requests from viewers, but quickly pulled it. In a statement, the network explained its on-again, off-again relationship with the show: “We brought the show back because many viewers expressed they could separate allegations against one actor from the fictional series itself, as it turns out they cannot.” Collins was never prosecuted due to the expired statute of limitations on all of the incidents.

Bill Cosby 77: Bill Cosby had a long list of credits to his name—from the long-running Cosby Show to Cosby to hosting Kids Say the Darnedest Things—before the allegations of rape and sexual assault began accumulating. More than 40 women have levied accusations against the comedian since 2000, with incidents reportedly dating back to 1965.

In 2014, media attention increased significantly, due in part to the comedian Hannibal Buress remarking on the allegations in a stand-up routine. Following a number of new accusations, a stand-up comedy special called Bill Cosby 77 slated to air on Netflix was postponed indefinitely just ten days ahead of its release. Netflix made the announcement on the same day that model Janice Dickinson accused Cosby of rape.

CeeLo Green’s The Good Life: In 2012, singer, producer and then-coach of The Voice CeeLo Green was accused of sexual assault, leading to a lengthy police investigation. The following year, he pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of providing a controlled substance to the woman involved in the sexual assault controversy, though no charges were brought for the assault itself. Despite his checkered past, TBS green-lit a reality show starring Green, CeeLo Green’s The Good Life, which premiered in June 2014. But when Green took to Twitter to express a slew of controversial opinions about rape and consent, TBS canceled the show.

Read Next: What the Josh Duggar Fiasco Can Teach Us About Pedophilia

 

TIME Sexual Assault

Anonymous Posters Attack Lena Dunham and Columbia Student Over Assault Claims

Honoree Lena Dunham speaks onstage at Variety's Power of Women: New York presented by Lifetime at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 24, 2015 in New York City.
Brian Ach—Getty Images Honoree Lena Dunham speaks onstage at Variety's Power of Women: New York presented by Lifetime at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 24, 2015 in New York City.

The television show creator and Emma Sulkowicz have spoken about sexual assault

Large posters were hung late Tuesday night near Columbia University accusing actress Lena Dunham and Emma Sulkowicz, a student who graduated from the school this week, of lying about their experiences of sexual assault.

Sulkowicz made headlines last September when she began carrying a mattress around campus as part of her visual arts thesis. The 22-year-old student says she was raped in her own bed by a fellow classmate at the start of her sophomore year in 2012. She told TIME the mattress is a symbol of the burden that sexual assault survivors carry around every day, and a protest against the way Columbia handled her rape allegations. (Her alleged attacker is currently suing the school and Sulkowicz’s thesis advisor for making his name public.) Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia on Tuesday, carrying the mattress across the stage with the help of friends.

Images of posters targeting Sulkowicz began circulating on Twitter around 5 am Wednesday from an account set up that day called @fakerape.

The posters were plastered around the Columbia campus, in the subway at 116th street, and on traffic lights and construction walls around Broadway. The majority of posters show an image of Sulkowicz and her mattress, emblazoned with the words “Pretty Little Liar” and the hashtag #rapehoax. Her name is misspelled.

Similar posters also appeared of Lena Dunham, with the caption Big Fat Liar.” In Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl, released in September 2014, the actress described her experience of sexual assault while she was a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. It led to controversy after the pseudonym and description she gave of her alleged attacker, ‘Barry’, seemed to point to a real Oberlin student called Barry, who studied there at the same time.

In a December essay for Buzzfeed, Dunham explained that she had been “inspired by all the brave women who are now coming forward with their own experiences, despite the many risks associated with speaking out.” On Twitter on Wednesday night, Dunham wished Sulkowicz ‘Happy Graduation’ and expressed her support and gratitude towards the recent graduate.

The people behind the @fakerape account have not publicly identified themselves, but told amNewYork “We want to educate people about fake rape claims & how damaging they are…From UVA to Columbia to UMiami, due process matters.” Blogger Chuck C. Johnson retweeted the photos, but denied any involvement in making the posters.

According to images posted on Twitter, passersby quickly tore down most of the posters.

TIME Sexual Assault

Columbia Student Carries Mattress at Graduation in Protest of Campus Rape Case

Emma Sulkowicz swore she would carry the mattress as part of her senior thesis until her alleged rapist was expelled. He wasn't.

Emma Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University on Tuesday carrying a mattress she’s been taking everywhere on campus for the last year as part of her visual arts thesis. The student swore to not put down the mattress until the school expelled her alleged rapist from campus.

Sulkowicz helped bring attention to a federal complaint that students levied against the school last year for failing to properly adjudicate cases of campus sexual assault. Columbia, along with over 90 other schools, is under federal investigation for violations of Title IX, a law that prohibits gender-based discrimination, including sexual assault, on campuses. Schools found guilty of defying the law could lose federal funding.

In an interview with TIME last year, Sulkowicz said that she was raped during her sophomore year. She and two other woman all reported the same attacker to the university. All three cases were dismissed. “During my hearing, one panelist kept asking me how it was physically possible for anal rape to happen,” she said. “I was put in the horrible position of trying to explain how this terrible thing happened to me.”

The man who allegedly assaulted Sulkowicz, also a senior, is still on campus. He is currently suing the school and Sulkowicz’s thesis advisor for making his name public.

Following an email from the university forbidding “large objects” in the graduation procession, it looked like Columbia might block Sulkowicz for carrying the mattress, according to the Columbia Spectator. But students tweeted pictures of the young artist carrying her mattress in her cap and gown to confirm she was allowed to finish her undergraduate thesis.

TIME India

Indian Nurse Who Spent 42 Years in Coma Following Brutal Rape Has Died

The 68-year-old had been a pivotal figure for the South Asian nation's debate over euthanasia

Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, a former nurse who spent over four decades in a vegetative state after being raped at a Mumbai hospital in 1973, died Monday morning after a heart attack following a bout of pneumonia. She was 68.

“She was recovering and all her other medical parameters were fine. Today she suffered a sudden attack and could not be saved,” Dr. Ahmad Pazare, head of medicine at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial hospital (KEM), told the Indian Express.

Shanbaug began working as a junior nurse at KEM in the early 1970s, after moving to the city from the southern Indian state of Karnataka. On Nov. 27, 1973, she was brutally attacked by a hospital sweeper named Sohanlal Bhartia Valmiki, who tied her to a dog chain and sodomized her. The incident left her in a vegetative state owing to serious brain injuries. For the past 42 years, she had been confined to ward No. 4 of the same hospital.

In March 2011, Shanbaug became the face of the debate on euthanasia in India after the country’s Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the writer Pinki Virani that sought permission for a “mercy killing.” Virani’s move was opposed by the nurses and doctors at the hospital who had looked after Shanbaug since she was attacked.

Her rapist served seven years in prison after being convicted of robbery and attempted murder.

TIME Military

Army Launches Review Into Whether ROTC Cadets Were Forced to Wear Heels

For a sexual assault awareness event

The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that ROTC cadets on college campuses were told to wear high heels to an event marking Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

The review by the U.S Army Cadet Command comes after an anonymous poster on Reddit claimed that ROTC cadets at Arizona State University would have faced disciplinary action if they didn’t attend an event on Monday called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” during which students donned red high heels to “stomp out” sexual assault on campuses. The post quickly garnered attention online and pointed critics of the alleged policy to other ROTC campus units that held similar events.

In a statement shared with TIME, the U.S. Army Cadet Command said they did not direct the ROTC units on exactly how the cadets should participate in the sexual assault awareness events.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” the statement said.

A video posted by ASU’s student nhttps://vimeo.com/125515628ewspaper shows the event at the Phoenix university. Maj. Michelle Bravo, a military science professor at Arizona State, says in the video that the cadets “planned and decided” to host the walk, where they mostly wore khakis and polo shirts with their heels.

The Temple University ROTC hosted a similar event earlier this month, and cadets there wore their uniforms with heels as they walked.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command also noted units could have participated in other events including “JROTC/ROTC 5K Run/Walk,” which doesn’t explicitly mention wearing high heels.

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