In Case You Missed It: Rep. Gosar Holds #RevokeTheMedal Press Conference Promoting Legislation to Strip Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom

For Immediate Release

Date: January 7, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this afternoon, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) held a #RevokeTheMedal press conference promoting legislation he will introduce tomorrow to affirm a mechanism for the president to strip Bill Cosby of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and that will impose criminal penalties for anyone who wears or publicly displays a Presidential Medal of Freedom that has been revoked.

Congressman Gosar was joined at the press conference by Executive Director of Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), Angela Rose. Congressman Gosar has been working closely with PAVE, a DC-based nonprofit organization that works to prevent sexual assault and heal survivors. The press conference was livestreamed on the Congressman’s Facebook page and the transcript of his remarks are included below:

3:00 P.M. EST - WASHINGTON, D.C. 

CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us today for this important press conference. My name is Paul Gosar and I represent Arizona’s 4th Congressional district. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, my colleagues and I have made it our mission to hold the government accountable for its actions. From time to time, such as this, it includes oversight of accolades awarded by the government.

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.” The Medal of Freedom is the highest level of honor our country gives to civilians and it is the responsibility of Congress to ensure proper accountability and preserve the integrity of the award.

William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. Sadly, over the past year, we have learned from Cosby’s own admissions that he acted in ways unbecoming of a recipient of the Medal of Freedom. Cosby’s shocking admission in a 2005 deposition where he admitted to drugging women in order to satisfy his sexual desires, make him unfit to retain our nation’s highest civilian honor. Court documents obtained by the Associated Press on Monday, July 7, 2015, revealed that… quoting the New York Daily News… “Cosby admitted under oath that he bought Quaaludes to dope the women he wanted to grope—and slipped the sedative to at least one lady and ‘other people’” end quote.

Specifically, during the September 29, 2005 deposition, a lawyer, Dolores Troiani, asked Cosby, quote “When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” and Cosby answered “Yes” end quote. To continue honoring Bill Cosby with this prestigious accolade would be an affront to women nationwide, particularly those who were victims of his horrific acts.

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.” Since that time I have been working closely with PAVE and others to craft legislation that provides a mechanism.

Tomorrow, several of my colleagues and I will introduce legislation that ensures there is a mechanism in place to strip Cosby, or anyone else found dishonorable, of the Medal of Freedom. Our legislation imposes criminal penalties for anyone who wears or publicly displays a Presidential Medal of Freedom that has been revoked.

Now I want to be very clear about one thing: 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 in order to satisfy his sexual desires place him outside the bounds of whom we should admire in our society.

As one of my constituents Dennis Luis stated eloquently on my Facebook page, “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.”

Furthermore, by allowing Cosby to keep his Medal of Freedom, our nation is sending the wrong message to society and future generations. And like so many Americans, I am sick and tired of watching the rapid decline of our culture right in front of our eyes. It is time to reclaim our nation’s moral compass.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an important symbol of our country. It is time for our elected leaders to boldly take a stand 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.

I am honored to be joined today by Angela Rose, Executive Director of PAVE, which stands for Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. PAVE is a national nonprofit organization that does great work in seeking to prevent sexual assault and assist with healing survivors. Angela, the floors all yours.
 

Background:

The full text of the draft Gosar legislation can be found HERE.

PAVE’s press release from 12/17/15 can be found HERE.

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

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.” Since that time I have been working closely with PAVE and others to craft legislation that provides a mechanism

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. 

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. In the 20 page Affidavit of Probable Cause, prosecutors 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.”

Specifically, during the September 29, 2005 deposition, a lawyer, Dolores Troiani, asked Cosby, quote “When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” and Cosby answered “Yes” end quote. 

Cosby’s own admissions to drugging women in order to satisfy his sexual desires place him outside the bounds of whom we should admire in our society.

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