17 Bipartisan Legislators Introduce Bill to Revoke Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom

For Immediate Release

Date: January 8, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4354, supported by 16 bipartisan cosponsors to affirm a mechanism for the president to strip Bill Cosby of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and impose criminal penalties for anyone who wears or publicly displays a Presidential Medal of Freedom that has been revoked:

“I’m pleased to see so many of my colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, join me in taking a stand to defend the integrity of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This distinguished accolade is an important symbol of our country. It is time for our elected leaders to boldly take action for what is right and join together in condemning abhorrent behavior like that of Bill Cosby. Revoking Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom won’t undo his actions or heal the wounds of his victims, but it will signal to the American people that we will not tolerate such lewd behavior. It is time to reclaim our nation’s moral compass.

“It is true that there is a presumption of innocence in the American legal system, and rightly so. And while our criminal justice system will ultimately determine whether Cosby serves jail time for any of the crimes of which he has been accused, Cosby’s own admissions to drugging women with the intention to satisfy his sexual desires place him outside the bounds of whom we should admire in our society.

“One of my constituents said it best: Civilian honors such as this come with no legal protections or guarantees...Honors are optional, and not anyone’s legal right to have and keep…The bar should be extraordinarily high for the Medal of Freedom, and to keep Cosby as a recipient greatly diminishes the very worth of that honor.”

Background:

The full text of the Gosar legislation, H.R. 4354, can be found HERE

Last July, when questioned about revoking Cosby’s medal, President Obama stated, “There's no precedent for revoking a medal…We don't have that mechanism.” This legislation ensures there is a mechanism in place to strip Cosby, or anyone else found dishonorable, of the Medal of Freedom.

Original sponsors and cosponsors (17): Brian Babin, Diane Black, Mike Burgess, Ron DeSantis, Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jared Huffman, Walter Jones, Martha McSally, Jeff Miller, Steven Palazzo, Scott Rigell, Matt Salmon, Jackie Speier, David Trott and Jackie Walorski

Congressman Gosar has been working closely with Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a DC-based nonprofit organization that works to prevent sexual assault and heal survivors, on this effort and they support this legislation. PAVE’s press release from 12/17/15 can be found HERE.

Yesterday, Congressman Gosar held a #RevokeTheMedal press conference promoting his legislation. The Congressman was joined at the press conference by Executive Director of Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), Angela Rose.

On December 30, 2015, Montgomery County Prosecutors charged Cosby with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a young woman without her consent in a 2004 incident. The 20 Page Affidavit of Probable Cause and three page Criminal Complaint can be found HERE.          

Congressman Gosar has been working on this legislation for months following release of the 2005 deposition in July 2015.

Congressman Gosar’s bill affirms a mechanism for the president to strip Bill Cosby of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and will impose criminal penalties for anyone who wears or publicly displays a Presidential Medal of Freedom that has been revoked. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established in 1963. This prestigious award is bestowed on recipients for “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

In recent months, more than 50 women have come forward and conveyed disturbing accounts of drugging and sexual assault by Cosby. The statute of limitations has expired for many of these incidents, and as a result, many of these women will never get their day in court.

In the 20 page Affidavit of Probable Cause, county officials found that “the evidence here demonstrates that the victim’s substantially impaired condition prevented her ability to consent, or even defend herself from Cosby’s sexual assault.” Prosecutors also noted that over the years “Cosby obtained seven separate prescriptions for Quaaludes that he did not personally ingest, nor ever intended to personally ingest.” Cosby’s own admissions to drugging women with the intention to satisfy his sexual desires place him outside the bounds of whom we should admire in our society.

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