Bill Cosby plans seminars on how to avoid sexual assault charges

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Bill Cosby plans to conduct a series of free public seminars about sexual assault this summer, his spokesperson announced – Jun 23, 2017

Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault trial may be over, but he continues to be in the spotlight.

According to Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt, Cosby plans to organize a series of town hall meetings to help educate young people about problems their misbehaviour could cause, along with other issues.

At the end of December 2015, 11 years after an alleged interaction with Toronto woman Andrea Constand, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault, punishable by five to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

READ MORE: Bill Cosby alternate juror says he ‘probably’ would have voted to convict

Prosecutors accused him of plying Constand with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers without her consent, while she was drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to resist or cry out. Cosby acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he drugged and had sexual contact with Constand, but said it was consensual.

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Wyatt told Birmingham, Alabama TV station WBRC that the former Cosby Show star is eager to get back to work after a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial of his sexual assault case.

“We’ll talk to young people,” said Wyatt. “Because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. You know, this issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.

“And it also affects married men,” Wyatt said, without elaborating.

READ MORE: Names of jurors in Bill Cosby sexual assault case released

“Is it kind of a, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ situation?” the WBRC reporter asked, but it was unclear if Wyatt heard and responded to the question.

Prosecutors have said Cosby will be retried, but there is no further information on that process coming from either camp. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an anti-sexual violence organization, responded to Cosby’s tentative plans.

“It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place,” RAINN spokeswoman Jodi Omear said in a statement.

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In a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, Wyatt expanded on his remarks.

He said that many civic organizations and churches have called asking that Cosby speak to young men and women about the judicial system and how it can be used for “personal agenda and political ambitions.”

READ MORE: Cosby mistrial resulted from 2 holdouts who were ‘not moving, no matter what,’ juror says

“They feel that the young men and women need to be aware that Mr. Cosby was given a deal to never be criminally charged” in the Andrea Constand case, he said.

A town hall will be held in Birmingham in July, Wyatt said. He didn’t identify the date or location or any other cities that will be visited.

Also taking part in the TV interview was Wyatt associate Ebonee Benson, who had read comments from Cosby’s wife, Camille, slamming prosecutors after the trial’s end last weekend in Norristown, Penn.

“Laws are changing,” Benson said on Thursday. “The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended. So this is why people need to be educated on a brush against the shoulder, you know anything at this point can be considered sexual assault. And it’s … a good thing to be educated about the law.”

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Cosby has been lecturing for years, and is well-known for scolding fellow African-Americans for poor grammar, sloppy dress and not valuing education, critiques that drew fire from some as elitist.

WATCH BELOW: The latest on Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial and the mistrial fallout

It also led indirectly to the reopening of the examination of his past.

Comedian Hannibal Burress also contributed to the Cosby firestorm when he joked at a 2014 stand-up show [Warning: foul language] that Cosby was being hypocritical for wagging his finger at wrongdoings when he himself “is a rapist.” Burress’ act and the release of the 2015 civil court transcript rekindled the focus on Cosby, and since then, dozens of other women have come forward with their stories.
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Nearly 60 women (as of this writing) came forward with similar accusations. Many of those alleged assaults date back decades, and the statute of limitations for bringing charges has expired in nearly every case.

A juror in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial said Thursday that some jurors were concerned that prosecutors waited 10 years to charge him, expressing suspicion that politics had played a role in the case.

The juror said the panel was almost evenly split in its deliberations, with a similar number of jurors wanting to convict the 79-year-old entertainer as acquit him.

— With files from Lynn Elber of The Associated Press