The actor was arrested today for allegedly assaulting a woman in 2004 at his home. While these are the first criminal charges filed against Cosby over the past year, dozens of women have stepped forward alleging the 78-year-old has done this in the past.
What does a victim of sexual battery need to prove in California?
The victim must prove that 1) the defendant acted with intent to cause harmful or offensive contact; 2) with the victim’s intimate parts; 3) the defendant’s conduct directly or indirectly resulted in sexually offensive contact.
The plaintiff must also establish that he/she did not consent to the defendant’s conduct.
The statute of limitations for sexual battery in California is two years, unless the victim is (G-d forbid) a minor.
If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations is 8 years from the day the minor turns 18. After that time period, Code of Civil Procedure 340.1 says a plaintiff can only sue if the lawsuit is accompanied with a certificate of merit from a licensed psychologist affirming that the abuse continues to effect the plaintiff.
Cosby’s case has brought renewed attention to this very sensitive and difficult issue.
If you or someone you know has suffered physical or sexual abuse, the Rabbi Lawyer is just one phone call away.