05 24 2016
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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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(CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual assault cases at the University of North Carolina at the request of current and former students, and a former administrator who say the university has long turned a blind eye to such allegations.

"We love UNC," said Annie Clark, the lead complainant. "We're not trying to vilify the university, we're just trying to make it better."

Clark and other students named in this report agreed to be identified by CNN, which does not typically identify the victims of sexual assault.

The investigation comes amid outrage on campus and nationwide over intimidation charges filed in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, school's student-run honor court against one of the women involved in the complaint.

Investigators from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights will look into the women's allegations that school administrators brushed aside concerns about sexual violence on campus and failed to adequately investigate complaints of sexual assault, according to a March 1 letter sent to Clark by the agency.

In a separate complaint filed with the Education Department, the women say the school also violated federal laws requiring universities to fully disclose crimes on campus.

In an e-mailed statement, a UNC spokeswoman said the school would cooperate with the investigation.

School administrators have disputed the cavalier attitude toward sexual assault alleged by the students, noting that UNC has removed sexual violence cases from the list of concerns handled by the school's student-run honor court and appointed an administrator to deal directly with victims.

"The university cares deeply about all of its students and is committed to providing policies and procedures that are fair for everyone, especially about an issue that is as difficult and often involves strong opinions on both sides like sexual assault," UNC spokeswoman Karen Moon said in an e-mailed statement.

Clark began researching sexual assault issues on campus when she realized there was no clear reporting system for sexual violence at the school after she said she was assaulted in 2007. Clark said she did not know her rapist and she did not report the incident to police.

"I went to one administrator, and she told me, 'Rape is like football. And if you look back in the game, would you have done anything differently,'" Clark said.

Three other students, all of whom said they also had been sexually assaulted, joined the complaint, as did an assistant dean for students, Melinda Manning, who resigned in December.

As they investigated, Clark said they found example after example of the school failing to properly address sexual assault.

"The university not only had knowledge of actual violations, but they acted with that knowledge to sweep violations under the rug," she said.

The tension over sexual violence claims at UNC was most recently on display in February, when it became public that honor court charges were being pressed against one of the complainants, Landen Gambill.

The court's student prosecutors had earlier declined to proceed with a case alleging honor code violations by Gambill's ex-boyfriend, whom she had accused of rape.

Gambill did not file a sexual assault report with police, and Gambill's ex-boyfriend -- who has not been identified publicly -- has denied her accusation, according to his attorney, John Gresham.

The man then asked the court to consider intimidation charges against Gambill, saying her accusations had negatively changed perceptions of him on campus and was making life difficult for him at school.

In a statement last month, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said school officials had not encouraged the man to file a case against Gambill.

"This university works hard to encourage students to come forward and report instances of sexual violence," Thorp said in the statement. "No student has ever been disciplined for reporting a sexual assault or any honor code violation. Further, no university administrator filed or encouraged the filing of charges in this case; there is no retaliation by the university."

Since the controversy burst into the open, the school has changed its policies to take sexual assault cases out of the honor court's jurisdiction and has hired an administrator to be the primary contact for sexual assault victims on campus.

It's unclear how long the Education Department investigation might take, but Clark said she and the other students expect a "long, difficult, grueling experience."

"But it will all be worth it in the long run," she said.

Another of the complainants, Andrea Pino, said she hopes the case will spark a change in how all schools respond to complaints of sexual violence among students.

"I hope that this will serve as a wake-up call to not just UNC, but universities across the country," she said. "The time has come for all survivors of sexual violence to demand change and justice."

 

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