Sexual Assault

Bill Cosby Goes On Trial, His Freedom And Legacy At Stake

Jun 5, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP, file

Bill Cosby went on trial Monday on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago, with a prosecutor warning the jury not to fall into the trap of confusing the 79-year-old comedian with the beloved family man he played on TV.

Brad Bower/Matt Rourke / AP

Penn State's former president and two other ex-administrators were sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to report a child sexual abuse allegation against Jerry Sandusky a decade before his arrest engulfed the university in scandal and brought down football coach Joe Paterno.

Final Cosby Jury Selections Made In Allegheny County

May 24, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

**UPDATED: 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Half of the new jury pool being questioned Wednesday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case said they've formed an opinion on his guilt or innocence, and another knows Cosby or his family.

All 12 jurors and six alternates have been chosen this week for the case starting June 5 in suburban Philadelphia. Those who have opinions weren't necessarily disqualified if they convinced the judge they could put that aside and focus on the evidence.

Cosby's lawyers have complained about prosecutors striking two black women.

Defense Raises Race Bias In Cosby Jury Selection Process

May 24, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

With just one black person seated among the first 11 jurors chosen for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial, defense lawyers are crying foul and accusing prosecutors of trying to systematically keep blacks off the jury.

The lawyers returned to court on Wednesday in Pittsburgh to pick a 12th juror and six alternates. Cosby arrived Wednesday just before 8 a.m.

For now, Judge Steven O'Neill has rejected the race bias argument.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

*UPDATED: May 22, 2017 at 5:39 p.m.

The panel that will decide Bill Cosby's fate in his sex assault trial began to take shape Monday with the selection of five jurors, three white men and two white women.

The search for 12 jurors and six alternates was expected to take several days. Experts believe lawyers on both sides will be considering race, sex, age, occupation and interests of potential jurors.

Brian Cohen

Leaders from local colleges and universities met last week to pledge protection for sexual assault victims amid national concerns about the fate of Title IX under the Trump administration.

Judge Rules Bill Cosby Case To Be Decided By Outside Jury

Feb 27, 2017
Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courrier Times / via AP Pool

 A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request to move the trial itself because of worldwide media reports that brand the actor a "serial rapist."

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill said jurors will remain sequestered during Cosby's June trial on charges that he drugged and molested a former Temple University employee in 2004.

martinak15 / Flickr

For thousands of left-leaning men and women last week, Election Night was the culmination of a political nightmare they’d assumed would be over. 

One staple in just about every sexual assault prevention program is the video vignette. It's usually a play-acted scenario used to teach students what crosses the line.

Now, the videotape of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about groping and kissing women is quickly becoming the classic real-life case study.

After a video surfaced last week showing Donald Trump boasting in 2005 how he would kiss and grope women without consent, the GOP nominee insisted in Sunday's presidential debate that it was just "locker room talk" and, pressed repeatedly by CNN's Anderson Cooper, finally said that he had never actually taken the action he described.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Bill Cosby's lawyers say his Pennsylvania sexual assault case followed "a perfect storm" of mistakes and misconduct by a federal judge, an ambitious prosecutor and a celebrity lawyer.

They argue in a filing Thursday that the 79-year-old Cosby can't properly defend the decade-old accusation when key witnesses have died and evidence has been lost.

Cosby is set for trial in June on charges he drugged and molested a Temple University employee in 2004. He calls their encounter consensual.

Bryan Y.W. Shin / Wikipedia

The University of Pennsylvania has become the latest college sued by a student fearing expulsion over what he calls an unfounded sexual-assault complaint. 

The lawsuit says the Ivy League school in Philadelphia could expel him if it concludes he had sex with a fellow senior without her permission.

The accused student calls the sex consensual. 

Federal guidelines instruct schools to hold students responsible if there's more evidence than not that an assault occurred. 

BarnImages.com / Flickr

An app could be key in helping track sexual assaults and domestic violence.

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital, said she and a team of researchers have developed an app called TIPS, or Trauma Informed Personalized Scrips, to help health care professionals identify women who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence. 

Plum Borough School District

  A western Pennsylvania school board is preparing to release a report on how administrators handled reports and rumors that teachers were having sex with students.

The Plum School board has moved its Tuesday night meeting to the junior high school to accommodate a larger-than-normal crowd.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

An audience of about 50 people watched uncomfortably as a man named Jon confessed he raped a girl in high school.

The confession was actually part of a scene in the play, “Tape,” a story about sexual assault, performed at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The play follows the character Jon’s confession to his friend, Vince, that he raped a woman 10 years earlier. In the play, the two men both dated the woman, Amy, in high school.

Laura Bittner / Flickr

As returning college students go to parties in new places, often with friends they’ve only recently met, they can be at higher risk for sexual assault, said Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

More than half of college sexual assaults occur between August and November, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN.

Three months after he received a lenient punishment for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at Stanford University, Brock Turner left the Santa Clara County Main Jail on Friday morning. He served half of a six-month sentence that drew a furious public response.

Comedian Bill Cosby's attempt to have his deposition testimony about alleged sexual assaults resealed was rejected by a federal appeals court, which decided that the issue is moot because the details have already been published.

The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled:

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 30 men, mostly coaches and athletic directors, at the Sewall Center at Robert Morris University this week were asked one important question: "Who here was ever taught about consent?"

No one raised his hand.

Alexander Nordby / Flickr

As sexual assaults in the military increase, supporters of a bill aiming to protect victims are working to drum up support. 

Between 2014 and 2013, the number of reported sexual assault cases in the military jumped 11 percent, and 2013 numbers were 53 percent higher than in 2012, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Defense.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emily Ahlin said three years ago, no one at the University of Pittsburgh really talked about sexual assault. 

“But I helped lead orientation week this year,” said Ahlin, a junior. “One of the things we had the kids do was a bystander intervention training. That didn’t exist my freshman year, and that exists now.” 

Kamran Jebreili / AP

 

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh next week to address campus sexual assault.

Biden's speech at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday will be the first in a multi-city tour as part of the White House's "It's On Us" campaign.

Listen Live:

www.governor.pa.gov

Pennsylvania recently became the first state to launch a federal campaign to stop sexual assault on college campuses.

The national initiative was announced in 2014 by President Barack Obama with the goal of building a movement to address, respond to and ultimately prevent sexual violence. A local "On Us PA" launched in late January.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Bill Cosby's preliminary hearing in a Pennsylvania sexual assault case has been postponed until next month to give the defense more time to prepare.

Court records show the evidence hearing has been rescheduled from February 2. The hearing had been set for next week.

Cosby is charged with indecent aggravated assault over a 2004 encounter at his Philadelphia-area home with a former Temple University employee.

Prosecutors say they have new evidence that helped them file charges just before the 12-year deadline expired.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Steubenville, Ohio made headlines in 2012 when a high school girl was raped by a group of boys after she passed out following a night of partying. The assault was captured on cell phones and shared on social media, forcing the town and the country into a conversation about sexual violence against female students.

That night, what lead up to it and its aftermath are the subject of the play ‘Good Kids’ being performed through Sunday by University of Pittsburgh students at the Stephen Foster Memorial. 

Chris Breeze / flickr

According to the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response decision, over 5,000 cases of rape or sexual assault were reported by military men and women in 2014.  While reporting was up by 50 percent, many criticized the statistics indicating that of the 5,000, less than ten percent went to trial and less than eight percent resulted in convictions.  

Since 2011, Attorney Susan Burke has been fighting for the rights of victims of military sexual assault.  She’s featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary The Invisible War, which will screen prior to her speaking this Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh.  She’ll share her experience defending victims and why she believes the chain of command military judicial system should be changed.

Flickr

According to the Department of Justice, 293,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted each year, and those are just the instances that are reported.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event that aims to greatly reduce sexual violence by bringing awareness to the issue, is coming to Pittsburgh on Saturday September 12, according to event coordinator and sexual assault survivor Camille Goleb.

Using Title IX To Engage Students In Deeper Discussions

Jul 21, 2015
teenlife / flickr

Higher education institutions are using Title IX as a jumping off point to have discussions with students about issues of harassment, stalking, dating violence and domestic abuse. Libby Rosemeyer, assistant director of Tittle IX compliance at Point Park University helps listeners understand the relevancy of the law and its impact on the Pittsburgh community as a whole.

Courtesy The Mr. Roboto Project

The Mr. Roboto Project, a cooperatively run, alcohol-free all ages music and arts venue in Garfield, prides itself on being a “safer space.”

According to the Roboto website, “racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other types of oppressive language are considered inappropriate and are not tolerated. Roboto is meant to be a safe, respectful, welcoming space for everyone.”

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Dec 11, 2014
Wolfram Burner / Flickr

According to our guest Vice President of Government Relations for the American Association of University Women, Lisa Maatz, we’re seeing more outrage from student advocates, survivors and politicians regarding sexual assault on college campuses.

She and Julie Evans, Director of Prevention and Crisis Services at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape talk about how universities can better deal with this issue.

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