In light of the recent sexual assault allegations that have emerged surrounding Bill Cosby, the LAPD takes a closer look at old sexual assault cases.
Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations
In the case of the Cosby allegations, it was assumed that many of the accusations were just too old (decades ago) to merit investigation from law enforcement. But recently, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced his detectives would investigate any of the complaints against Cosby, even those that exceeded the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. So far, no complaints have been filed with the LAPD.
New Look at Old Sexual Assault Cases
But Chief Beck’s statement does more than speak to the allegations against Cosby. It represents a movement in the LAPD to give new looks to old sexual assault cases in an effort to establish patterns of behavior, especially in cases where a suspect is later accused of another crime. “We don’t turn people away because things are out of statute. You come to us, especially with a sexual allegation, we will work with you,” said Beck. “We address these things seriously, and it’s not just because it’s Mr. Cosby.”
California Law Regarding Rape Allegations
Under California law regarding rape allegations, the legal deadline for prosecuting the allegation involving an adult victim is 10 years. For serious assaults that involve minors, prosecution can be pursued if the incident occurred in 1988 or later. But LAPD officials are open to investigate sexual assault allegations that fall outside of these perimeters, especially if they can lead investigators to more recent incidents. “Unfortunately, sexual offenses tend to be serial offenses,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, an LAPD spokesman. “You find victim after victim after victim.”
“All victims deserve to be heard,” said LAPD Capt. Fabian Lizarraga. “It doesn’t matter if it’s out of statute or not.”
Source: Los Angeles Times, LAPD chief is open to investigating Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations, December 4, 2014