Philadelphia news site Philly.com reported Monday that a single election could determine whether a 2004 accusation of sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby will be reopened.
The decade-old criminal case against Cosby could be re-opened after former District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr. declined to prosecute Cosby based on allegations, even after a dozen other women reached out to him saying that they, too, were sexually assaulted by Cosby. Interestingly enough, Castor is now running for DA again after losing his seat in 2008, and the municipal election is November 3rd. If Castor wins his seat back, it’s unlikely the case will be re-opened. Why would he admit his mistake?
Pennsylvania has a 12-year statute of limitations for felony sexual crimes and that 12 years is up in January, 2016. Any District Attorney could reopen a previous case up until that deadline.
Castor’s Democratic opponent, Kevin Steele, began his campaign by running ads talking about his own tough record on sexual assault cases and sexual predators. Steele’s ad attacks Castor for refusing to prosecute Cosby, who now has over 50 women accusing him of sexual assault.
In Steele’s latest ad, entitled “Trust,” the voiceover refers to Castor as “the former DA who refused to prosecute Bill Cosby,” saying, “many more victims came forward and Castor admitted he could have used their testimony against Cosby” but he “didn’t even try.” The ad concludes by saying “Bruce Castor is not looking out for the victims.”
Under Steele’s attacks, the former DA has been forced to defend his reasons for not prosecuting Cosby when he had the opportunity. Instead of giving blanket statements about a lack of evidence he attacked Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, who he said changed her story in court.
On Monday, Constand filed a defamation lawsuit against Castor, insisting that he worked to publicly undermine her credibility, even “misstating facts about her case, and twisting her story to benefit his political ambitions.”
But Republican Castor says it’s all political and proved what a bully he is when he said the alleged sexual assault survivor should be afraid of him.
“I’m a lawyer. I’m not afraid of court. I think the people who filed this lawsuit ought to be afraid.”
Hmm. Attacking a victim of sexual violence. Probably not the best political strategy. Castor does claim that, if re-elected, he will “review” the case. However, he makes no promise to re-open the case or actually prosecute Cosby.
If Castor wins the election on Tuesday, Constand’s attorney says they are unlikely to move forward any further. “How can we possibly trust him?” attorney Dolores Troiani told Philly.com. “I don’t know how we could possibly do that.”
Constand did file a civil suit against Cosby which was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.