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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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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Student Protesters

Members of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union shout slogans during a protest against a gang rape of two teenage girls in Katra village, outside the Uttar Pradesh state house, in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 30, 2014. A top government official said the northern Uttar Pradesh state has sacked two police officers who failed to respond to a complaint by the father of the two teenage girls who went missing and were later found gang raped and killed. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

WARNING: Graphic photograph lower down this page is not suitable for children and may upset others.

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Facing relentless media attention and growing criticism for a series of rapes, state officials in north India fired two police officers Friday for failing to investigate the disappearance of two teenage cousins, who were gang-raped and later found hanging from a tree.

But in a country with a long history of tolerance for sexual violence, the firings also came as the state's top official mocked journalists for asking about the attack.

"Aren't you safe? You're not facing any danger, are you?" Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said in Lucknow, the state capital. "Then why are you worried? What's it to you?"

The gang rape, with video of the girls' corpses hanging from a mango tree and swaying gently in a breeze, was the top story Friday on India's relentless 24-hour news stations. But in just the past few days, Uttar Pradesh has also seen the mother of a rape victim brutally attacked and a 17-year-old girl gang-raped by four men.

Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state, with nearly 200 million people.

Official statistics say about 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. But activists say that number is very low, since women are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assaults.

Indian police and politicians, who for decades had done little about sexual violence, have faced growing public anger since the December 2013 gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a moving New Delhi bus, an attack that sparked national outrage over the treatment of women.

On Friday, the state's former chief minister lashed out at the ruling government.

"There is no law and order in the state," said Mayawati, who uses only one name. "It is the law of the jungle."

Hours later, the chief minister ordered that suspects in the attack be tried in special "fast track" courts, to get around India's notoriously slow judicial system.

The girls, who were 14 and 15, were raped in the tiny village of Katra, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) from Lucknow.

Police say they disappeared Tuesday night after going into fields near their home to relieve themselves, since their house has no toilet.

The father of one girl went to police that night to report them missing, but he said they refused to help.

When the bodies were discovered the next day, angry villagers silently protested the police inaction by refusing to allow the bodies to be cut down from the tree.

The villagers allowed authorities to take down the corpses after the first arrests were made Wednesday. Police arrested two police officers and two men from the village, and were searching for three more suspects.

The girls were Dalits, from the community once known as "untouchables" in India's ancient caste system. The fired policemen and the men accused in the attack are Yadavs, a low-caste community that dominates that part of Uttar Pradesh. The chief minister is from the same caste.

On Thursday, officials suspended two local police officers for ignoring the father's pleas for help. They were fired Friday.

Top state official Anil Kumar Gupta said the two policemen had been charged with criminal conspiracy for refusing to file a complaint or take any action.

Meanwhile, the chief minister's mocking comments to reporters were not a surprise to many in India.

Last month, Yadav's father — a former chief minister and head of the state's ruling party — told an election rally that the party opposed a law calling for gang rapists to be executed.

"Boys will be boys," Mulayam Singh Yadav said. "They make mistakes."

Rape-fullPHOTO: In this Wednesday, May 28, 2014 photograph, Indian villagers gather around the bodies of two teenage sisters hanging from a tree in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, India. Two teenage sisters in rural India were raped and killed by attackers who hung their bodies from a mango tree, which became the scene of a silent protest by villagers angry about alleged police inaction in the case. Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers. (AP Photo)

Kavita Krishnan, a women's rights activist, said such comments make clear to police that rape isn't taken seriously by officials.

She called the chief minister's Friday comments "a trivialization of rape."

While sexual assaults are reported across India, there have been a string of high-profile attacks in just the past few days in Uttar Pradesh.

On Thursday, police arrested three men for brutally attacking the mother of a rape victim after she refused to withdraw her complaint.

The attack, in the town of Etawah, followed the May 11 rape of the woman's teenage daughter. A local man was arrested after the mother filed a complaint with authorities.

Five men — including the father, a brother and a cousin of the man accused in the rape — followed the victim's mother away from her house on Monday and beat her relentlessly, demanding she drop the accusation, said Dinesh Kumar, the town's police superintendent. The mother was in critical condition in a hospital, with numerous broken bones and internal injuries.

Police arrested three men Thursday for the attack and were looking for two others.

On Wednesday, a 17-year-old woman was attacked in a field and raped by four men in southwestern Uttar Pradesh, police said. One man has been arrested.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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