Bill Cosby is a world-renown comedian and actor, a person regarded by many as a philanthropist, who is alleged to be a serial rapist. Bill Cosby has been described as a man who surreptitiously drugged dozens of his victims, for the purpose of satisfying his perverted sexual appetite, over the course of more than fifty (50) years. He has escaped criminal prosecution, save for the case involving one survivor, Andrea Constand. Ms. Constand’s allegations within the state of Pennsylvania culminated in a prosecution that ended in a June 17, 2017 mis-trial.
The subject of rape is not a funny one, no matter who promulgates the crime. Bill Cosby is properly associated with a legacy of brilliant comedy, based upon his countless and poignant insights to the childhood realities which are shared by millions of Americans, across racial, ethnic and regional divides. Perhaps Bill Cosby’s most well-known character portrayals, in the person of “Heathcliff Huxtable” from “The Cosby Show,” espoused unassailably positive values, earning the unmitigated trust of the nation, as indicated by the “America’s Dad” title bestowed upon the once-beloved actor and comedian. Bill Cosby is also properly associated with a legacy of sexual assault that includes rape.
Bill Cosby is an artist. His work in comedic acting consists of mimicking reality; art derives value to the extent that it reflects truth. American society can enjoy the art, which may itself be pure, while reviling the personal actions of the artist, which occur “in real life,” in private spaces. For a society to operate with any semblance of justice, it is necessary to condemn the sin, yet love the sinner; fairness dictates that the criminal justice system mete out punishment to the purveyors of criminal behavior without even a scintilla of bias.
As demonstrated further within this article, by his own admission, “America’s Dad” is a serial rapist. Under an apparent presumption that criminal statutes of limitation shield the vast majority of his crimes from prosecution, Bill Cosby has already “confessed” to having committed these jailable offenses. Because the federal criminal code contains, seldom-used, but viable criminal statutes under which his actions can be penalized, Bill Cosby should be held accountable. When it comes to appropriately reconciling Mr. Cosby’s criminal behavior, America seemingly must resort to the tried and true, “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you,” philosophy.
The objective of this article is to illuminate the specific path along which United States Attorneys can judicially prosecute Bill Cosby on behalf of at least a half-dozen sexual assault victims. This missive also seeks to outline the reasons the Department of Justice should embark on such a course.
Mann-up to Prosecute a Major Entertainment Celebrity
The Mann Act is federal legislation that was codified in 1910. The Mann Act is also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421–2424. Named after James Robert Mann, a United States Congressman from Illinois, the series of laws that comprises the Mann Act was intended to eliminate both prostitution and that strain of human trafficking that was designed to proliferate the sale of sexual activity. The Mann Act is one example of “moral reform” legislation created during what is known historically as “the progressive era.” The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, from the 1890s to the 1920. [John D. Buenker, John C. Burnham, and Robert M. Crunden, Progressivism (1986) pp 3–21.] It is doubtful that its drafters could have imagined that these laws would one day be integral to the prosecution of a comedian and actor of almost unparalleled celebrity, a person accused of sexually assaulting more than sixty (60) women.
Seemingly advised that his violent, clandestine attacks upon women were protected by the significant passage of time, that his crimes were too old to result in valid prosecution, Bill Cosby has projected a noteworthy arrogance in the face of his accusers. For example, while defending himself in a 2005 civil lawsuit for sexual battery, Bill Cosby was asked during his deposition about his possession of illicit recreational drugs. The depositions which were central to the December 30, 2015 Andrea Constand criminal charges ultimately filed against Bill Cosby were conducted on September 27 and September 28, 2005 in Constand v. Cosby, Civil Case No. 05-1099. In response, as delineated more specifically below, Bill Cosby unwittingly admitted to having independently violated two (2) of the federal criminal statutes which are found within the Mann Act. Bill Cosby acknowledged in this deposition testimony that he had engaged in actions which violate 18 U.S.C. §2421 (transportation of another person for illicit sexual purposes) and 18 U.S.C. §2422 (coercing or enticing travel of another for illicit sexual purposes). Upon conviction, each of these laws carries a penalty of up to ten (10) years imprisonment.
Like laws criminalizing murder and kidnapping, prosecution of Mann Act violations is not subject to any statutes of limitation:
“Aside from capital offenses, crimes which Congress associated with terrorism may be prosecuted at any time if they result in a death or serious injury or create a foreseeable risk of death or serious injury. Although the crimes were selected because they are often implicated in acts of terrorism, a terrorist defendant is not a prerequisite to an unlimited period for prosecution. A third category of crimes that may be prosecuted at any time consists of various designated federal child abduction and sex offenses.” [“Statute of Limitation in Federal Criminal Cases: An Overview,” by Charles Doyle, Congressional Research Service, November 14, 2017 (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31253.pdf).]
It is worth repeating: These two (2) criminal statutes, part of the Mann Act, have no expiration dates. Each is currently enforceable. Via application of the Mann Act, the U.S. Department of Justice has both the ability and authority to criminally prosecute Bill Cosby for commission of these crimes. Today. All that is required is the political will to act on behalf of the alleged victims and their families.
Confronting Rape Culture in the United States
Dr. Jaishree Ellis, MD, is a Board Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist, talented columnist and television News medical correspondent, who has very powerfully articulated the depravity of rape:
“The exploitation and victimization of a rape victim is mirrored by many of the indignities imposed upon scores of Africans during the slave trade. The depravity of the Atlantic Slave Trade, at least in part, was based upon the uber act of disrespect: traveling to a foreign land and stealing millions of souls, to be used by a culture to become a world power. People were hunted, captured and then used, as if they were disposable. During this process, their bodies were treated as Kleenex tissues, rapidly used to satisfy a panopoly of the hunters’ desires: free labor, lust, psychological (and literal) whipping boards. Each stolen soul, ripped from the Mother Continent, had a mother, father and countless loved ones who were forever injured. There has been no greater crime in human history.”
The late, great law school professor and human rights scholar, Derrick Bell, espoused the belief that historical gains in the status of American Blacks have occurred only when such progress has also directly benefited the interests of the White power elite. The same premise might be stated in the context of gender disparities. A nation that elects a Presidential candidate who believes, at least in private circles, that the rich, famous and/or powerful can grab women’s genitalia without consequence, cannot consistently be trusted to act in the best interests of women. [https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-wins_us_582296a9e4b0e80b02cdcc8a.] According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, women make up between 86 to 95% of rape victims. It is a fair question: would the history of rape’s legal jurisprudence look differently had the converse been true, if men were the overwhelming majority of persons subjected to rape?
“From the two-finger virginity test in India to America’s customary questioning of what a woman was wearing, how much she had had to drink, whether she knew her alleged rapist before the incident, and the list goes on, we are, all of us in this world, obsessed with proving that unless a woman is the perfect victim she has no proof and is therefore lying. We are profoundly invested in this narrative, fighting, at every turn, for the hero — an athlete with a bright future ahead, a pop culture icon upon whom we’ve projected our golden ideals of fatherhood and morality, a group of young men looking for fun on a bus one night — to emerge unscathed. Rather than confront challenges to this narrative, we would rather see the reputations and humanity of women who dare speak their truth be tarnished.” [What the Uber Scandal Says About Us,” by Chaya Babu, CNN, June 13, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/13/opinions/uber-scandal-babu-opinion/index.html.]
Rape victims do not come in neat, homogenous packages. They tend to be overwhelmingly female and react to their victimization in ways which are at the same time understandable and incongruent with criminal prosecution. To say the least, rape victims are often unenthusiastic about reliving their very private horror in one of the most public settings imaginable. Perhaps “terrified” of this prospect is the more apt description.
The difficulties faced by the Andrea Constand jury during the summer of 2017 were born of these rape culture “norms.” Women are, de facto, expected to prove that they did not consent to the violence that is inextricably tied to sexual assaults and batteries. This is a particularly difficult standard to meet, especially given associated delays relative to the reporting and/or prosecution of rape. Such hurdles are further exacerbated by the factor of celebrity status associated with the defendant.
Statutes of Limitation as Public Policy
A criminal statute of limitation is a specific, pre-defined time-limit upon the ability to enforce, or prosecute, a particular criminal statute. The purpose of criminal statutes of limitation is to prevent or mitigate the hardship and apparent injustice to defendants, who would otherwise have to defend against stale claims. The reason that statutes of limitation exist is because over the course of time, witness memories tend to fade. Physical evidence is also more susceptible to being lost or otherwise compromised, the longer a case is active.
The more egregious our society considers a particular criminal act, however, the longer the criminal statute of limitations time period that is assigned. Similarly, the more heinous the alleged criminal act, the greater the amount of time the convicted criminal may be sentenced to serve. Accordingly, the assignment of statutes of limitations, as well as the lengths of criminal sentences for various crimes evidences the value we place upon deterring those particular crimes.
It is morally, ethically and even legally (the least stringent standard for the delineation of right vs. wrong) improper for one person to hunt and kill another human being. The same applies for any attempt by one person to own another person or to treat a human being as chattel, an item of personal or real property. Americans currently frown upon both murder and slavery. How can one know this to be true? We merely have to look at the assignment of relative criminal statutes of limitations and potential sentences. Murder and slavery are attached to (a) no criminal statutes of limitations period and (b) relatively severe punishments.
Until very recently, American society did not consider rape to be worthy of such distinction. Criminal statutes of limitation applied to rape have diminished the ability of rape victims to seek justice. In the instance of rape, women are impacted disproportionately, so the limitation of time placed upon the prosecution of this heinous and cowardly act is particularly hard on women.
The Modus Operandi of a Coward
A man possessed with extremely keen intellect and an apparent fascination with principles of human psychology, Bill Cosby has demonstrated understanding that America has a history of honoring, if not quasi-worshipping, the unexposed hypocrite. Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States of America, manipulated human flesh as a slave owner, while espousing the virtues of “freedom” for land-owning White males. Like Thomas Jefferson, Bill Cosby’s ability to speak publicly in brilliant, morally relevant tones, commanding respect and admiration, while acting horrifically in his private affairs, is nothing short of profound. To impose one’s will, over-riding that of another human being and forcibly manipulating that person’s body, the soul’s temple, is nothing short of evil. To do so in the calculating, underhanded and surreptitious manner that is clandestine drugging is reprehensible. With a focus upon the correct statutory scheme, the Mann Act, this behavior can also be punished.
Had Bill Cosby, under cover of darkness, crept up behind dozens of women, knocked them over the heads with a blunt object, and satisfied his depraved lust against their incapacitated bodies, several things would have happened. Once they regained consciousness, the victims would have been likely to immediately report the heinous act, armed with evidence of having been rendered unconscious through physical force. These survivors would have been free from at least a portion of the inhibitions which are attached to the unmerited stigma that American society too often associates with rape victims: that somehow the victim consented to the actions of her attacker, or that she is in some other way responsible for the actions of her assailant.
Instead, in a manner even more befitting a coward, Bill Cosby hid his actions behind the veils of surreptitious drugging, his comedic acting persona and his nearly unprecedented level of fame. Bill Cosby preyed upon women who looked to him as a mentor, an employment superior even a father figure. Much like the members of the religious clergy who have engaged in the most predatorial conduct, hurting minor children in unspeakable ways, the magnitude and scope of Bill Cosby’s betrayal cannot be overstated.
As of the date this article is published, more than sixty (60) women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of some variation of sexual battery and/or assault. The vast majority of these accusations include the claim that Bill Cosby surreptitiously rendered the women unconscious with drugs. Once drugged these women were physically incapable of providing consent to sexual contact or resisting Cosby’s acts of sexual battery.
These allegations collectively span a time frame that is greater than fifty (50) years. Each of these women have a network of people, parents, children, husbands and friends, who have been negatively impacted by these alleged actions. It is only the time that has passed with respect to the vast majority of these criminal acts, not any specter of his innocence, which shields Bill Cosby from accountability. These sex crimes have been deemed to have occurred too long ago to be the subject of prosecution via state criminal codes, which are subject to specific criminal statutes of limitation, as heretofore defined.
As detailed further below, a substantial portion of evidence with respect to Bill Cosby’s alleged sex crimes is found within his own words. Bill Cosby has admitted criminal culpability with respect to several crimes, as governed by the Mann Act. Because the Mann Act is somewhat arcane, its use has ostensibly escaped the purview of most legal experts. State prosecutors have been focused upon the “usual suspects,” in terms of penalizing conduct best described as sexual assault and rape: i.e. state penal codes. The focus of these state prosecutors has been, simply stated, upon the wrong statutes: state laws with statutes of limitations which expired prior to the vast majority of public allegations.
The pursuit of these state statutes has proven to be largely fruitless and extremely frustrating for the accusers. Only one criminal case, that stemming from the allegations of Ms. Andrea Constand, has been brought against Bill Cosby to date. On December 30, 2015, Bill Cosby was charged with violation of the Pennsylvania Penal Code for aggravated indecent sexual assault. [Pennsylvania Code, Title 18 “Crimes and Offenses,” Chapter 31 “Sexual Offenses,” Section 3121 “Rape.”] In essence, Bill Cosby was charged with drugging Ms. Constand, fondling her breasts and then digitally penetrating her vagina, all without her consent.
The central issue in the Pennsylvania case against Bill Cosby was whether the prosecution could prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Andrea Constand consented neither to the drugs which were introduced to her body nor the contact with her body to which she testified. Under any set of circumstances, this would be a difficult task. The passage of thirteen (13) years, since the alleged violations, rendered the prosecution’s burden even more daunting. Adding the Bill Cosby Defense Team’s charge that Bill Cosby is being prosecuted, after an inordinate amount of time, due to his race and/or based upon the victim’s desire to gain financial award, and the prospect of securing a conviction was even more challenging. After several days of sequestered days, this Pennsylvania state court criminal trial (“Constand I”) ended with a hung jury and mistrial on June 17, 2017. A second trial (“Constand II”) has been scheduled for April 2, 2018.
Despite the Pennsylvania prosecutor’s immediate announcement, that the charges would be subject to a second trial, Bill Cosby’s legal defense team understandably claimed victory in June of 2017. All criminal defendants share the same goals: (1) to avoid the status of being a defendant, the result of formal charges being filed against them; (2) once formal charges have been levied, to maintain physical liberty for the duration of the prosecution; (3) to avoid a criminal conviction; and (4) in the event that there is a conviction, to receive the minimum sentence. To date, the Bill Cosby legal defense team can lodge three (3) of these four (4) factors in the “win” column.
The Constand I jury was not convinced, at least not beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ms. Constand’s version of the events was the most accurate description of what actually occurred. Bill Cosby’s attorneys were able to sow the seeds of reasonable doubt into the jurors’ minds. Was the contact between the two people consensual? Did Ms. Constand ingest the drugs voluntarily? The Constand I jury was unable to resolve these questions in a manner warranting a conviction.
Prosecutors seeking a conviction of Bill Cosby in the second Constand allegation-based, “traditional state statutes” criminal trial set for April of 2018 (“Constand II”) must scale several obstacles. Misogyny, racial prejudice, bias against the poor are societal truths which are magnified in the courtroom. The inability to provide a perfect trial environment, however, does not necessitate the abolition of the jury trial.
First, it is neither possible nor necessary to ignore the fact that as a Black male, Bill Cosby’s race does in fact make it historically difficult for him to receive a fair trial. Consideration of race, albeit ostensibly illicit, is a prevalent component within our American judicial system. The reason that this is true is that human beings, with their inherent biases and attendant subjectivity when weighing evidence, are integral to that judicial system. Further, “[r]acism is an integral, permanent, and indestructible component of this society.” [Derrick Bell Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism.] Add to this the historical tendency, particularly in the American South, “to … excuse some of the most heinous crimes that ever stained the history of a country (i.e., lynchings), the South [shielded] itself behind the plausible screen of defending the honor of its women.” [Ida B. Wells-Barnett on lynchings in her pamphlet Southern Horrors.] Black men have historically been unfairly accused of rape. In a traditional rape case, Bill Cosby, self-admittedly a person who has surreptitiously drugged females for the purpose of sexual battery, needs only to raise the spector of reasonable doubt and to be able to “hide” amongst the ranks of factually innocent Black men, crying “foul” against his accusers while doing so.
Secondly, the concept that women are less worthy of legal protection, as compared to males, remains conspicuously with criminal court jurisprudence. According to Lili Bernard, the consequences of being violated in the “holiest of places,” include depression, despondency, devastation and even suicidal ideation for rape victims. The pain of such trauma will remain with its victims for the rest of their natural lives.
Lili Bernard is one of the Bill Cosby sexual assault and rape survivors. “War criminals, no matter how many decades have passed, cannot evade prosecution,” Lili Bernard told the California State Senate committee on SB 813, the legislation that ultimately eliminated the statute of limitations for rape prosecutions in California. “I am asking you to do the same thing for us, rape survivors, who survived the war upon our body.” [http://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-rape-cosby-idUSKCN11Y31P ] Greatly because of the efforts of Ms. Bernard and other survivors, California eliminated the statute of limitations on rape, starting January 1, 2017. [See, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-bill-cosby-rape-law-change-20160412-story.html.]
Personal Note: Lili Bernard has been my spouse since 1995. She is the mother of my six (6) children. In 1991, I witnessed Lili Bernard immediately after she had been sexually assaulted and surreptitiously drugged by Bill Cosby. Within minutes of observing her state of incapacitation and trauma, I confronted Bill Cosby via telephone, with Lili Bernard in the room. Bill Cosby did not deny criminal culpability to me. When I told Bill Cosby that I would take Lili Bernard to the hospital and go to the police station to press charges against him, Bill Cosby threatened to file fraudulent police reports against us, falsely accusing us of rendering fictitious accusations. Bill Cosby also indicated to Lili Bernard and me that he would sue each of us for defamation and make certain that we remained in prison for a long time. Within moments of the telephone conversation, Lili Bernard told me that Bill Cosby had threatened to “erase” her. Lili Bernard told me that she feared for her life as a result of this erasure threat.
Though an effective argument can be made that legal accountability should remain forever possible for the perpetrators of these crimes of sexual violence, in the overwhelming majority of states, such is not the case. Instead of wondering “what should be” or waiting for legislative action, which cannot retroactively address matters beyond a statute of limitations, prosecutors are left with resort to the state and federal criminal statutes currently in force.
Again, in a perfect world, Bill Cosby would be tried once for each of the heinous acts to which he has admitted culpability. As Dr. Ellis poignantly stated. “He should be made to face the women upon whom he has visited such terrible harm. For as much as it is possible, he should have to answer for each of the women that he has victimized. And there should be no statute or law that interferes with that reckoning.”
As stated above, however, the law does in fact interfere with that reckoning, most notably via the application of statutes of limitation. Based upon the Mann Act, in addition to “traditional” Constand II rape prosecution, Bill Cosby can be made to stand trial for federal criminal charges, not just once, but, at the very least, relative to six (6) separate instances. This is because at least six (6) Cosby sexual assault survivors have raised allegations which directly implicate the Mann Act elements.
Snatching Conviction from the Jaws of Exoneration-How Bill Cosby has Convicted Himself
My grandfather often pointed out that some men are inclined to figuratively “dig their own graves” with their sexual member. Whether or not Constand II results in a conviction, Bill Cosby’s deeds have more than satisfied the requirements for federal prosecution. Should federal prosecutors care to act, Bill Cosby has literally spoken his way into a criminal conviction. The members of the U.S. Department of Justice need only approach the allegations against Bill Cosby from a fresh vantage point.
As my mother says frequently, respect is due everyone. Everyone. Based upon Bill Cosby’s own words, it would be most respectful for him to be tried relative to at least six (6) separate accusers. These six (6) women are the victims of Bill Cosby’s actions and are linked together by his own, arrogant, under-oath admissions.
Many of the people engaged in the American slavery Middle Passage were their respective communities’ most accomplished, influential and well-respected members. The Middle Passage involved the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World, from 1518 to the mid-19th century. Promulgators of this slave trade included people revered for their talent, intellect and even values, whether inclusive of Black Africans or persons of European descent. Much like Bill Cosby, these individuals exploited their wealth and power to attain personal, illegitimate goals. Thomas Jefferson, for example, was one of the most brilliant persons our nation has ever produced. That brilliance does nothing to hide the depravity of penning the words, “all men are created equal” while enjoying the legal fiction of owning human beings, including the mother of more than one of Mr. Jefferson’s own children.
As is the case with most criminal convictions, the perpetrator’s arrogance and/or ignorance often provides the quintessential evidence used to concoct his demise. Thinking himself immune from prosecution for decades-old acts, during the course of rendering sworn deposition testimony, Bill Cosby admitted to acts which constitute crimes. Bill Cosby literally admitted to “hunting” and “trapping” women. The government need only a suitable theory with which to prosecute this behavior.
Bill Cosby has provided federal prosecutors with the where, what, how and why of his actions. As stated above, the tools of Bill Cosby’s “flesh hunting” trade were the distractions of fame, money and power, aided by the incapacitating force of drugs, administered surreptitiously. An additional element of Bill Cosby’s camouflage is the shame and embarrassment which are associated with rape. No other criminal act places the onus upon the victim to differentiate the alleged behavior from legally appropriate behavior. In an effort to protect the male perpetrators, rape survivors are made to endure years of re-victimization. These are bed-rock, foundational principles within rape culture.
Bill Cosby has taken full advantage of this rape culture. He has acted in a manner consistent with the belief that no one would credit the testimony of any single one of his alleged victims over his own accounting. Bill Cosby has behaved as if he believed himself to be immune from prosecution, let alone conviction.
In a dastardly and spineless effort to keep his wife, Mrs. Camille Cosby, from discovering his repetitive acts of infidelity, Bill Cosby used his wealth to transport women across state lines. Luring women to various hotel venues, paying for their transportation across state lines and then drugging the women were all acts to which Bill Cosby has readily confessed, and in that confession, has supplied federal investigators with much of what they will need to prosecute him. Like notorious gangster Al Capone, who was alleged to have been responsible for multiple murders but was jailed on tax evasion charges, Bill Cosby can be sent to prison not for the greatest of his crimes, sexual assault and rape, but for the simple act of transporting women, across state lines, with the intention to violate their bodies. This is illegal, even for “America’s Dad.”
But for his deposition in the Andrea Constand case, Bill Cosby would have “fooled [society] again.” Not. So. fast.
Cosby’s Kryponite: the Mann Act (18 U.S.C. §2421 and 18 U.S.C. §2422)
It is quite possible that prosecutors wracked their brains to charge Bill Cosby with attempted murder for intentionally infusing controlled substances and alcohol to unsuspecting women. There is no doubt, however, that federal prosecutors are empowered to prosecute Bill Cosby for violation of 18 U.S.C. §2421, a federal statute. Its working title is “transportation of another for illicit sexual purposes”:
Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce,…., with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
In an attempt to understand this “legalese,” it is helpful to separately examine each phrase.
“Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce,…”
To satisfy this aspect of the statute, a criminal defendant has to intentionally move another human being from one state to another. This could be done by driving the person, paying another person to drive the victim, or making arrangements for the victim to be transported by auto, train, floating vessel, via helicoptor or airplane. The critical aspect is moving the victim from one jurisdiction (state, nation) to another.
“…with intent that such individual engage in … any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense…”
The Defendant next has to intend that the victim be the subject of a sex crime (i.e. rape, sexual assault, sexual battery) in the place to which the Defendant has transported her. “or attempts to do so….” This is important. Whether or not the Defendant “completes” his plan to commit sexual assault in the “away” jurisdiction is irrelevant. It is the “thought that counts,” in this statutory scheme. The victim’s escaping the ultimate act (rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, etc.) does not save the Defendant from culpability.
“shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”
A defendant found liable under 18 U.S.C. §2421 suffers a fine, goes to jail for 10 years or gets hit with both the fine and imprisonment.
Another federal statute also poses potential trouble for Bill Cosby. 18 U.S.C. §2422 is entitled “coercing or enticing travel for illicit sexual purposes.” Here are the details:
Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
18 U.S.C. §2422 closes the “loophole” of the Defendant who wants to argue, “I did not physically transport the victim. She went to the location voluntarily!” The Prosecutor would only need to demonstrate that the victim, even if she traveled on the strength of her own finances, was enticed to the interstate destination by the Defendant. Promises of acting roles, mentoring or other tangible benefits might readily serve as evidence of that enticement.
Now that we have identified the statutes, an examination of Bill Cosby’s confession is possible. Line by line, in his arrogance, Bill Cosby has satisfied the elements of 18 U.S.C. §2421 and 18 U.S.C. §2422. Because she had the courage and support necessary to act, Andrea Constand’s civil case provided the forum for the confession to take place.
First, Bill Cosby admits in his deposition that he secured seven (7) prescriptions for Quaaludes during the ‘70’s, from a Los Angeles doctor. Bill Cosby testified that he believed the prescribing physician understood that he was not using the prescribed sedatives to treat his own pain:
Q. You testified that he knew you were not going to take them. And I’d like to — explain your answer. How did he know that, or why do you say he knew that?
A. What was happening at that time was that that was — Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.
Next, Bill Cosby testified that he never took the Quaaludes himself. Instead, Bill Cosby swore under oath that he used Quaaludes in his efforts to have sex with women:
Q. Why didn’t you ever take the Quaaludes?
A. Because I used them.
Q. For what?
A. The same as a person would say have a drink.
At another point, Mr. Cosby describes how he routed a payment to Therese Serignese, the woman who has claimed she had been sexually battered while drugged by Bill Cosby in Las Vegas. Bill Cosby admitted that his acting representatives, his agents at the William Morris Agency, sent Ms. Serignese $5,000.00 for travel to Las Vegas and he reimbursed them.
Q. And did that come from your personal account or from the business?
A. That’s from my personal account.
Q. So, was the purpose of that to disguise –
Q. I have to finish my question. Was to disguise that you were paying the money to Theresa?
Q. And the reason you were doing — who were you preventing from knowing that?
A. Mrs. Cosby.
This testimony demonstrates Bill Cosby’s intention to deceive his wife. This evidence is certainly available for the jury’s consideration with respect to the issue of deceiving women, drugging them, for the purpose of incapacitating and sexually battering them.
During his deposition in the Andrea Constand matter, Bill Cosby was asked to talk about his relationship with Beth Ferrier, one of the women who has accused him of drugging her. Ms. Ferrier has said that in the mid-1980s, after a brief consensual affair with the entertainer had ended, she met him before a performance in Denver, drank some coffee that he gave her, felt woozy and woke up in a car with her clothes a mess and her bra undone.
Q. What was your relationship with her?
A. We had sex and we had dinners and sex and rendezvous.
Q. What are rendezvous?
A. Rendezvous is when you call somebody and say, do you want to be at such and such and they say yes and you go there.
Q. Is there sexual contact associated with the rendezvous?
A. There was with Beth every time.
Q. Where did these rendezvous occur?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Do you know the cities?
A. Denver for sure.
The Ferrier account satisfies the elements of both 18 U.S.C. §2421 and 18 U.S.C. §2422. The issue of whether Ms. Ferrier consented to being rendered to an incapacitated state in Denver, CO is one that a jury can address. Ms. Ferrier has alleged that she did not want her body to be rendered incapable of moving, in the manner of a trapped animal. Bill Cosby admitted to this “conquest” because he had been advised that it was too “stale” to be the subject of criminal prosecution.
The application of 18 U.S.C. §2421 and 18 U.S.C. §2422 towards Ms. Ferrier’s facts create the distinct prospect of a conviction. There are at least five (5) additional survivors, whom Bill Cosby transported across state lines for the purpose of sexually battering their bodies. Five additional survivors who were surreptitiously drugged by Bill Cosby. These accusers detail allegations with very similar patterns: Bill Cosby paid for these women to be transported, across state lines, in order to meet Bill Cosby, most often in places of public accommodation, including hotels, night clubs and restaurants. The women were surreptitiously drugged before being sexually battered and assaulted.
Because he believed the “game” of the legal allegations against him hinged completely upon whether his female accusers could demonstrate lack of consent after the passage of several years, a “he said, she said” contest, Bill Cosby became the overly confident “Hare.” The Tortoise of justice, can now reach the finish line. [“The Tortoise and the Hare” is one of Aesop’s Fables and is the story of a race between seemingly unmatched rivals.]
Via the Mann Act, the federal prosecution of Bill Cosby can begin. Given the admissions made by Bill Cosby, under oath, consistent with the elements of these two (2) criminal federal statutes, from the Mann Act, the prospect of one or more convictions is significantly enhanced. This article asserts that this prosecution ought to be conducted within a federal criminal court of law, an environment in which Bill Cosby’s status is on par with that occupied by each of his accusers. There is no need to rely upon a “one on one” recitation of facts which occurred many years ago. Instead, drivers, physicians, stage assistants, boyfriends, husbands and parents of the survivors can provide sound, powerful testimony with respect to the distinct acts which include victims’ being drugged and transported across state lines, all of the nefarious behavior that occurs before the sexual battery.
The Mann Act paves the way for a much more “level” playing field, an environment upon which Lady Justice can properly execute her duties relative to the allegations against Bill Cosby.
Who is laughing now?