- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2015

One of Bill Cosby’s accusers and her attorney, renowned sexual assault and employment lawyer Gloria Allred, will testify Friday morning before the Nevada State Assembly in support of legislation that would eliminate statutes of limitation for rape crimes in the state.

“It is long overdue for the law to be changed so that victims are able to have their day in court with sexual predators, and for victims not to have the courthouse door slammed in their face because of laws which protect sexual predators … and tell victims that it is too late for them to be afforded justice,” Ms. Allred told The Washington Times.

Ms. Allred, who represents a number of women who have accused Mr. Cosby, said she was prompted to address the Nevada legislature about the statute of limitations on complaints of sexual assault, which requires that they be filed with authorities within four years of the attack.

Ms. Allred publicly challenged the comedian to waive that protection and have an opportunity to prove his innocence in court, but he declined. Once a written complaint is made, Nevada has no statute of limitations on a rape prosecution.

Friday’s legislative hearings to consider altering the statute of limitations are the first in the nation since the Cosby accusations resurfaced. Several accusations involved casinos and clubs in Nevada’s gambling and entertainment industries.

Ms. Allred most likely will face an uphill battle because nearly all crimes except murder have some statute of limitations.

“I think where it becomes dangerous are cases where people are actually innocent,” said Bryan Brown, a prominent criminal defense attorney in Washington.

“When you’re dealing with innocent people, the more time that goes on the harder it is for the accused to establish a defense that shows they are innocent. The more time that goes on, the harder it gets to track down witnesses because they don’t remember as well. Try and think who you were with on a particular night at a particular time four years ago. … How would you go back and determine where the accuser was?”

Ms. Allred disagreed. She said the judicial process preserves every defendant’s right to a fair trial.

“I trust a jury to decide,” she said. “Predators are often unwilling to trust a jury with that decision.”

Liz Seccuro, who was gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity in 1984, said she believes that eliminating the statute of limitations would be in the interests of justice.

“It’s not the alleged victim who is filing charges; it’s the state of Nevada. Four years seems extraordinarily insufficient in today’s age. Perpetrators’ consciences come into play, new facts come to light, deathbed confessions occur. It’s not only about DNA evidence anymore. As a matter of fact, there is great power in the memory of a victim for many years after a sexual assault, as is indicative of my own case. The powerful narrative of the alleged victims of Cosby should not be ignored,” Ms. Seccuro told The Times.

Since November, Mr. Cosby has faced a media firestorm as numerous women have continuously come forward with strikingly similar stories that accuse the television star of engaging in involuntary intoxication and sexual assault.

So far, more than 30 women have accused him of sexual assault. Mr. Cosby has denied the accusations.

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