PRESCOTT, A.Z. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter inviting his fellow members of Congress to cosponsor legislation that he will introduce next week affirming 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that will impose criminal penalties for anyone who wears or publicly displays a Presidential Medal of Freedom that has been revoked:
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not something to be taken lightly and such an honor must come with responsibility and accountability. No doubt, Bill Cosby has made cultural contributions to public life in the United States as both an entertainer and as an advocate for social causes. However, the shocking admissions of Cosby during a 2005 deposition, the harrowing accounts of more than 50 women of Cosby’s sexual assault and drugging as well as Cosby’s arrest for three felony counts of sexual assault make him unfit to retain our nation’s highest civilian honor.
“When approached, President Obama stated there is no mechanism to revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Cosby, making it is necessary to establish a formal removal process in order to protect the integrity of this award. For this reason, I will introduce legislation that ensures there is a mechanism in place to strip Cosby, or anyone else found dishonorarable, of the Medal of Freedom.
“Furthermore, it is true that there is a presumption of innocence in the American legal system, and rightly so. While our criminal justice system will ultimately determine whether Cosby serves jail time for the 2004 incident, Montgomery County prosecutors made clear in their Affidavit of Probable Cause yesterday that Bill Cosby has likely been drugging women for years. Cosby’s own admissions to drugging women for sex place him outside the bounds of whom we should admire in our society. 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.”
The Gosar dear colleague being circulated for cosponsorship can be found HERE.
The full text of the draft Gosar legislation can be found HERE.
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. PAVE’s press release from 12/17/15 can be found HERE.
Congressman Gosar has been working on this legislation for months following 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 Rep. Gosar has 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.”
According to the New York Daily News, court documents obtained by the Associated Press on Monday, July 7, 2015, revealed that “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’.” During a deposition on September 29, 2005, a lawyer, Dolores Troiani, asked Cosby, “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.”
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 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.”