Bill Cosby won't be charged over 1974 molestation claim, say prosecutors

Prosecutors declined to charge Bill Cosby with annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 because the statute of limitations had passed, and conditions for extending the statute of limitations were not met.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP/File
Comedian Bill Cosby performs at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla., Nov. 21.

Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday declined to file any charges against Bill Cosby after a woman recently claimed the comedian molested her around 1974.

The rejection of a child sexual abuse charge by prosecutors came roughly 10 days after the woman, Judy Huth, met with Los Angeles police detectives for 90 minutes.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office rejected filing a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 because the statute of limitations had passed.

Days before Huth spoke to police, she accused Cosby in a civil lawsuit of forcing her to perform a sex act on him in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old. Cosby's attorney said that Huth attempted to extort $250,000 from the comedian before she sued and that she'd attempted to sell her story to a tabloid a decade ago.

Cosby is seeking a dismissal of Huth's lawsuit, arguing it is blocked by the statute of limitations.

Huth told police that Cosby molested her and that she had no further contact with him after the incident, according to a summary of her allegations included with the prosecutor's decision.

In rejecting the case, prosecutors evaluated the charge Cosby would have faced in 1974. Prosecutors took into account legislative changes that extend the statute of limitations for certain crimes but found no way that Cosby could be legally prosecuted.

The statute of limitations for filing a misdemeanor case is one year; the statute of limitations for a felony sex crime committed in 1974 was three years, according to the prosecutors' analysis.

"It is our understanding that the decision not to prosecute was based on the statute of limitations and not on the merits of Ms. Huth's claims," Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, wrote in a statement.

Cosby's attorney, Marty Singer, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Huth is one of at least 15 women who have come forward since early November with claims that Cosby sexually assaulted them decades ago. Most of the women say the comedian drugged them before he assaulted them. She is one of two women suing Cosby; a second woman is suing for defamation.

Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations. A 2005 lawsuit by a Pennsylvania woman was settled before it went to trial.

Since the allegations emerged, Cosby's career has unraveled, with nearly a dozen performances canceled in his ongoing standup comedy tour. NBC has said it will not move forward with a Cosby sitcom that was under development, and Netflix indefinitely postponed a special that was set to premiere last month.

Cosby's attorneys have denied some of the allegations and dismissed others as decades old and "discredited."

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