05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Olga Chinchilla, then 18 and pregnant, sat glued to the television screen, intrigued by a report on a developmental disorder that impairs social skills.

"I remember sitting there and had never heard about the disability before," said Chinchilla. "Little did I know that in three years my son Anakin was going to be diagnosed with autism."

Initially, she said she ignored signs that her son potentially had autism — a developmental disorder that is exhibited in impaired comprehension, language barriers, and repetitive behaviors — because she was in shock and did not quite know what to expect. "I was the one in denial," she said. Her family's reaction did not help. "Being Hispanic, the typical thing they tell you is that 'it's okay, he's a boy. Boys develop a lot slower than girls do.'"

But there was something alarming and oddly different about Anakin's behavior. At 12 months, he could not walk or talk. There were many times when Anakin could not even look his mother directly in the eyes. He did not like it when anyone touched him and he would often slam doors and spin objects in a repetitive manner — warning signs that eventually prompted Chinchilla to seek help from a pediatrician, a health center and then a psychologist.

Chinchilla, now 24, has transitioned from initial disbelief and denial of her son's diagnosis, to struggling as a single mother to find the right resources for Anakin and later advocating and educating others about the rights of families of children with developmental disabilities in the Alhambra area.

Anakin was diagnosed with autism at 22 months and later began receiving funds for ABA therapies at age four at Alhambra's East Los Angeles Regional Center (ELARC), one of 21 resource and service centers in the state of California catering to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Gloria Wong, executive director of ELARC says that 38 percent of their clients are diagnosed with autism, the second largest diagnosis at the center, after mental retardation. Nationally, autism cases have spiked in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, a 23 percent increase from CDC's 2009 report. Additionally, more children are being diagnosed at an earlier age and the disability seems much more prevalent in boys than girls.

"There is really an unknown reason for that spike that continues to grow, but there have been studies in terms of what is spiking the ongoing growth in California," said Wong.

Olga Chinchilla and her son Anakin.

Shortly after her son's diagnosis, Chinchilla recalls struggling to work as a full-time medical assistant while providing Anakin the special care he needed.

"I was in Rosemead at one point, and I tried two different daycares within a week," Chinchilla said. "I would get off work and get there crying....You try to make a living for your child, you go to work — but the whole day, you wonder, 'how's my kid?'"

Chinchilla realized that Anakin needed more than just regular daycare service; he needed a place that catered to children with developmental disabilities. But the search for special daycares was a challenge, and as a single mother, she was not able to afford the cost — many of which were well over $30,000 a year.

Chinchilla decided to quit her job in order to take care of her son full-time. Shortly after, Chinchilla and her husband divorced, a common occurrence in families with children of autism, she said.

"The divorce rate and marriages with kids who have autism are very high, and it's many times due to the fact that one parent or the other can't deal with emotions and challenges of having a child with autism," said Chinchilla.

Unemployed and on her own as a single mother, Chinchilla moved in with her brother in Alhambra. She soon discovered In-Home Supportive Services, a program that helps pay for services provided to individuals who are disabled, blind, low-income elderly, including children.

"I had to fight for a year and a half because they [State of California] didn't consider autism would fall into the category of having to be watched 24/7," she said. "I went around my community, collecting letters and having his [Anakin's] supervisor write letters as to why he can't be alone for a minute and why he can't take care of himself.

Families like Chinchilla's may be receiving financial relief in the form of SB 946, a new state law that requires health insurances to provide behavioral services to individuals with autism. "We have up to 200 families affected by this requirement," said Felipe Hernandez, Chief of Consumer Services at ELARC.

Family and friends show support for Anakin.

According to Chinchilla, the new law serves as a financial relief for her family. But after speaking to other families in the Alhambra community, she came to realize that many were not informed about their rights and resources. She wanted to do something to educate others about autism by participating in various fundraisers, car washes, autism walks and baseball tournaments in collaboration with Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization that supports autism research and advocates for families of individuals with autism.

With the support from her community, Chinchilla was able to reach out to local businesses and friends and family members to help raise money for autism research, and spread awareness about autism in communities like Alhambra and the Greater Los Angeles area.

"We raised $9,200 this year and $5,600 last year," she said.

Chinchilla knows that the fight is not over. Anakin progressed from not speaking a single word to later speaking in full sentences. But there is still a lot more help that he and other children with developmental disabilities need.

"We walk not knowing what the future will hold, but we walk with faith that he will be independent himself," she said. "One day, we will look back and say: 'we were able to face these challenges in life.'"

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