Quaaludes and Wine: The Bill Cosby Charges
Pennsylvania prosecutors announced the filing of charges against comedian Bill Cosby in an alleged encounter with a woman 12 years ago. Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault. A former Temple University employee, told police Cosby drugged (quaaludes and wine) and violated her at his home in Cheltenham Township, near Philadelphia, in 2004 after she refused his advances. She came forward in 2005 and was told there was not enough evidence to go forth with a case. Since then, prosecutors say new evidence has been uncovered. Victims of sexual assault over the age of 18 have 12 years to report sexual assault in Pennsylvania, and the settling of a civil suit (which Cosby reached with this accuser) does not prevent the state from bringing forth criminal charges provided they are within the statute of limitations.
Aggravated Indecent Assault
According to Pennsylvania Law, a person who engages in any penetration with their body of the accuser’s body for any reason other than legitimate medical, hygienic or law enforcement procedures commits aggravated indecent assault provided it’s done under any one of eight conditions. The accuser being under 13, 16 and the accused being 4 years older than her, and the accuser being mentally handicapped do not apply.
Consent generally requires voluntary acquiescence to the proposal. In the context of rape, there must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence. There is no consent because the accuser had no choice if she was unconscious by law. However, acquiescence is conduct recognizing the existence of a transaction and intended to permit the transaction to be carried into effect. This is a “tacit agreement” where consent can be inferred from silence. The ambiguity of this is why affirmative consent laws are all the rage.
Forcible Compulsion or Threat of Forcible Compulsion
Forcible compulsion is compulsion by use of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional or psychological force, either express or implied. A threat is menace of destruction or injury to the lives or property of the accuser. The power imbalance overall and in their relationship will certainly be a factor here.
Unconscious Or Known To Be Unaware
Unconsciousness is an imprecise term for severely impaired awareness of self and the surrounding environment; most often used as a synonym for coma or unresponsiveness. This will be tough to prove without video evidence.
Quaaludes and Wine
Drug-facilitated sexual assault occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they inhibit a person’s ability to resist and can prevent them from remembering the assault.
Methaqualone or quaaludes were initially synthesized in India in the 1950s. The pill is part sleeping pill, part sedative that was initially marketed as not being as addictive as barbiturates.
By the mid-1960s, the pill was being manufactured in the United States and prescribed to housewives with trouble controlling their nerves and sleeping. But soon another use of the drug was discovered: mix it with alcohol and achieve a “drunken, sleepy high,” according to PBS News. Quaaludes and wine may be an aphrodesiac, but employing them or any drugs with the intent to diminish capacity for sex is illegal if not “rapey”.
Rape Is Tough To Prove
Less than 20 percent of all sexual assaults are reported to police.
Victims Are Revictimized
The steps rape victims must go through in pursuing a trial, in Virginia for example, are exhausting. The victim, after meeting with a uniformed officer, meets with a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) for a 3-5 hour examination following the rape. She then meets with the detective, her lawyer, a judge, the defense attorney and eventually the jury. By the time the trial is completed, usually eight to 14 months after reporting the incident, the victim can be desensitized, having told her story 12 times or more.