A woman who says Bill Cosby victimized her decades ago asked Nevada lawmakers on Friday (March 13) to support a bill removing the state’s statute of limitations on sexual assault — a provision that prevented her from pursuing a criminal case against the comedian.
Lise-Lotte Lublin, 48, fought through tears while telling lawmakers she passed out in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1989 after Cosby gave her two alcoholic drinks. The former model said she remembers Cosby stroking her hair, and then she woke up at home.
It was only after hearing similar allegations from other women that she concluded something happened to her while she was unconscious. She said she filed a police report on the incident in January, but was told Cosby couldn’t be charged because too much time had passed. So she and her husband went to the bill’s sponsor and urged her to draft the legislation.
“I want to empower victims, period,” Lublin said, “regardless of what happens for me.”
Cosby’s publicist, David Brokaw, did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment on Friday. More than 20 women have stepped forward in recent months to level various accusations against Cosby, ranging from unwanted advances to sexual assault and rape. Cosby has not been charged with a crime and has denied some of the allegations through his attorneys.
Las Vegas police have investigated “more than one” complaint against Cosby, but couldn’t confirm if Lublin filed a police report due to department policy, said department spokeswoman Officer Laura Meltzer. None of the complaints have led to criminal charges, she said.
Nevada law dictates that sexual assault charges cannot be filed more than four years after the alleged incident. The bill would remove that restriction and bring sexual assault in line with murder and terrorism as crimes without a statute of limitations.
Democratic Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, who is sponsoring the bill, said the legislation would help sexual assault victims who often face severe emotional and social trauma and can take years to feel comfortable before filing a report with police.
Vanessa Spinazola, a lobbyist for the ACLU of Nevada, said statutes of limitations help ensure cases are reviewed before witnesses die and memories fade.
“They permit both the prosecution and the defense to try the case before evidence is stale,” Spinazola said. “As more time lapses, it becomes increasingly difficult for the accused to prepare a meaningful defense.”
Attorney Lisa Rasmussen said there’s an unlimited statute of limitations for prosecuting a sexual assault when a police report is filed within four years of the incident.
“You also have to think about whether or not you would want to be in a position where someone is saying `35 years ago, someone did this to me,'” Rasmussen said.
The bill wouldn’t apply retroactively due to constitutional concerns.
The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault as a matter of policy, but Lublin went public with her allegations. Despite Lublin identifying Cosby as her attacker, committee chair Ira Hansen asked that witnesses not use names during their public testimony and refer to him as “the perpetrator.”