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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Charlene Crowell

A college education is supposed to open the doors to life-long careers and entry into America’s middle class. Yet, students that enrolled at one of the more than 100 Corinthian College campuses across the country had college experiences characterized by predatory lending, illegal debt collections, and one-day “career” jobs. Corinthian Colleges operate schools under the names of Heald College, Everest and Wyotech.

On September 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, seeking $569 million in forgiveness of loans. An estimated 130,000 private loans students were entered into from July 21, 2011 to the present. March 2013 enrollments totaled about 74,000 students for all of its campuses.

“We believe Corinthian lured in consumers with lies about their job prospects upon graduation, sold high-cost loans to pay for that false hope, and then harassed students for overdue debts while they were still in school,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB Director.

CFPB alleges that Corinthian used bogus advertising targeted to low-income students who were often the first generation of their family to attend college. Exploiting their limited exposure to the world of higher education, ads promised job prospects and careers that never happened. Further, its tuition costs were so high that an associate degree came with a price tag ranging from $33,000 to $43,000. The costs for a bachelor’s degree ran higher from $60,000 to $75,000.

To cover tuition and fees, students were financially forced into the college’s “Genesis loans,” created in concert with investment banks and financial institutions. These loans were much more expensive than federal loans. In July 2011, the Genesis loan interest rate was about 15 percent with an additional loan origination fee of 6 percent. At the same time, federal student interest rates ranged from 3 to 7 percent, depending upon the type of loan, and had either low or no charges for origination. Corinthian needed its loan program in order to comply with a federal law that required no more than 90 percent of an institution’s funding to come from federal sources. The lawsuit alleges that Corinthian knew that most students would default.

Worst of all, loan repayment on most of the private-label loans began as soon as students started classes. By comparison, federal loan repayments typically begin six months after students either graduate or drop out of school.

CFPB found that more than 60 percent of Corinthian students defaulted on their loans within three years. To encourage strong collection rates, CFPB alleges that Corinthian paid its staff bonuses on how well they got students to keep their loan payments current. Informing instructors about overdue debts, meetings with the campus president and pulling students from class were only three of the tactics used to shame students. If students became late on loan payments, they were denied computer access, prevented from buying books, blocked from signing up for classes and even held diplomas until repayments became current.

CFPB said even more abuses were inflicted on Corinthian students who managed to graduate. Although the schools directed students to its ‘career services office,’ only a job postings list was provided. In other instances, Corinthian paid legitimate employers to hire its graduates on a temporary basis, and then counted these jobs as part of the school’s “career” placement – even if the job lasted only a day.

The legal action taken by CFPB is not the only one Corinthian Colleges faces.

This June, the Department of Education increased its financial oversight after Corinthian failed to address concerns about its practices, including falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students and allegations of altered grades and attendance. The Department also imposed a 21-day waiting period before Corinthian could draw down federal student aid revenues tied to enrollment. A few weeks later in July, the Department of Education appointed a monitor empowered to have full and complete access to Corinthian personnel and budgets.

Additionally, Corinthian is also being investigated by 20 state attorneys general and received a federal grand jury subpoena in Florida, and another from Georgia. The Peach State is examining the colleges’ job placement, attendance and graduation, while the Sunshine State wants to know more about employee misconduct and student aid funds.

“This action by the CFPB should further encourage the Department of Education to take strong steps to hold for-profit college companies to meaningful accountability standards in the forthcoming ‘gainful employment’ rule,” said Maura Dundon, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Responsible Lending. “Students continue to be placed at risk by practices such as those documented in the Corinthian complaint. The time to act – on behalf of hopeful students across the country – is now.”

A web-based resource from Student Loan Borrower Assistance is available for current or former Corinthian students to better understand refunds, discharge rights and more.

Even more student loan developments may be forthcoming this November when the Department of Education is expected to announcement its rule on “gainful employment,” affecting all for-profit career schools.

Hopefully, the new rule will end what Director Cordray referred to as “the ongoing nightmare of financial despair.”

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org

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