Cosby cases inspire Colorado bill extending time for charges

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DENVER | Citing sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Colorado legislators were considering a bill Thursday to end a 10-year statute of limitations on such cases and allow more time to seek charges.

Attorney Gloria Allred and two of her Colorado clients who claim Cosby assaulted them decades ago planned a news conference before the bill is heard by a committee in the Democratic-controlled House.

The legislation isn’t retroactive, so it wouldn’t affect their claims if it becomes law.

Dozens of women around the country have accused Cosby of sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s. He has denied the allegations.

Colorado has a 10-year time limit for seeking charges in cases that don’t include DNA evidence.

The bill’s proponents argue it can take years for sexual assault victims to gather the courage to file a police report.

In 2015, Nevada extended its statute from four to 20 years after testimony by a woman who accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her decades ago.

Beth Ferrier of Denver and Heidi Thomas of Castle Rock, Colorado, have claimed they were sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1980s. They sought help from Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora, who agreed to introduce the bill along with Republican Sen. John Cooke of Greeley.

Oregon’s Legislature is considering a similar bill after it doubled the statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes from six to 12 years in 2015. California is also considering legislation on the issue.

Sixteen other states have no statute of limitations for felony sexual assault cases.

Cosby faces defamation lawsuits by women in California and Massachusetts after he denied their claims that he drugged and raped them.

In a criminal case in Pennsylvania, the comedian is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Colorado and many other states have eliminated limits to seek criminal charges in child sex-abuse cases — a response to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically name people who say they are sex assault victims. However, Ferrier and Thomas have spoken publicly about their allegations.