05 24 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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Howard Thurman wrote about an oak tree in his childhood yard. Each autumn its leaves turned yellow and died, but sdid not fall all winter. Nothing—neither wind, storm, sleet, nor snow—dislodged these dead leaves from the apparently lifeless branches. Dr. Thurman came to understand that the business of the oak tree during the long winter was to hold on to the dead leaves before turning them loose in spring so that new buds—the growing edge—could begin to unfold. At winter's end, what wind, storm, sleet, or snow could not force off passed quietly away to become the tree's nourishment.

My parents were like that oak tree. Throughout most of our history, most Black families have been like that oak tree. Despite enormous assaults and pressures, Black parents and elders remained determined to hold on and persevere long enough to prepare the next generation and give them a better life. During Black History Month, many Americans take time to remember the achievements of amazing Black individuals. But, Black families deserve their own praise for all we've accomplished. At the same time, we need a new call to action, because our children are facing what I and many believe is the worst crisis since slavery—and need adults' strength and influence more than ever.

Black people devoted to family saw us through the unspeakable assault of slavery. Beloved historian John Hope Franklin and others have reminded us that traditional myths about slavery destroying Black families are a lie: the slavery system and individual slave owners may have done their very best to try to destroy the families in their control, but it didn't work. When slave owners tried to mate us for childbearing, we made our own systems of traditional marriages and commitments. When they tried to treat parents and children as nothing more than disposable and interchangeable property, we learned to honor and revere our mothers, fathers, and ancestors and to see our children as children of God.

We've all heard stories of the lengths many newly-freed slaves went through after Emancipation to try to be reunited with family, sometimes traveling for hundreds of miles in desperate attempts to find loved ones. At the same time, we also learned to create other networks of extended family and near-family that laid the foundation for strong Black communities and nurturing Black children. Families saw us through Reconstruction and did their best to shield and protect children during the dark days of Jim Crow, mob rule, and lynchings. Throughout segregation, many Black families and communities reminded children they had dignity and worth. Long before the phrase became popular, our mothers and grandmothers took their time braiding our hair, neatly pressing our clothes, and reminding us every day that Black was beautiful. During the Civil Rights Movement, many Black families fought together every step of the way. Many parents participated in the struggle for an end to segregated schools and facilities because they knew they wanted a better education and world for their children. In Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, and across the South, Black children marched and were attacked right alongside and often without their parents.

Our families have seen us through many crises, but there have also been threats to Black family stability and reports of Black family breakdown throughout our history. Drugs, poverty, violence, and unequal opportunity have battered our families mightily. But, many of us who are committed to strengthening Black families believe the forces undermining Black family life are turning in a dangerous way, and many

Black children are treading through treacherous new territory. A toxic cocktail of poverty, illiteracy, racial disparity, violence, out of wedlock birth, and massive incarceration is sentencing millions of children of color to dead end, powerless, and hopeless lives and threatens to undermine the past half century of racial and social progress. Those of us who see the threads of our families, neighborhoods, and social networks fraying under the burden just as our children need us most know we need to reweave the fabric of family and community that supported us and got us this far. This is why we've launched the second phase of the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC).

The Black family has been the strongest defense Black children have had throughout our history, and must become so again to help lead this crusade. Our children have been nurtured and protected in the past as best as we could because of the hard work of committed and determined Black adults—and today, it's our turn. Too many Black adults have gone AWOL and need to come home to family. We've already withstood powerful storms and we will withstand this new and dangerous storm by banding together as a Black community to protect all of our children. As the words of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" remind us, we've come over a way that with tears has been watered. We've treaded our path through the blood of the slaughtered. We've already come this far on the way, and it is not time to stray or let our children down on our watch. Wake up and stand up for our children who are asking for and deserve our help.



Learn more about the Black Community Crusade for Children

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

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