Oddly, both bill co-sponsor Paul Gosar and Bush are Republicans.
Nonetheless, Gosar announced yesterday (Jan. 8) the he would co-sponsor the bill in Congress. If passed and signed into law, Cosby could lose his medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“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,” Gosar said.
A sexual assault awareness group called on President Obama to revoke Cosby’s medal in July, according to USA Today No medal has ever been revoked. The honor was created under President Truman in 1945.
At issue are allegations, Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted more than 50 women over his decades long career. The comedian is also facing criminal felony assault charges for allegedly assaulting one of the women in Pennsylvania in 2004.
Cosby produced an starred in the groundbreaking “Cosby Show.” The sitcom ran from 1984 through 1992. It was the first show to feature an upscale African-American family living in Brooklyn, New York.
He played Dr. Cliff Huxtable, an obstetrician, opposite Phylicia Rashad, who was a lawyer. The show was lauded for its portrayal of race relations and such controversial topics as teen pregnancy.
Although Cosby had faced prior accusations of sexual assault, his life and career only tumbled in October a year ago. Comedian Hannibal Buress did a riff on his sexual misbehavior during a comedy routine. It went viral and a flood of women came forward to recount their experiences.
On Dec. 30, Montgomery County (Pa) prosecutor Kevin Steele said at a news conference that Cosby had been charged with one count of aggravated indecent assault, a felony.
The case involves Andrea Constand. In 2004, she was director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University. Cosby, who attended school there and became a major donor, allegedly drugged an assaulted her.
She filed a civil suit in 2005 that was settled out of court a year later. In a legal deposition, Cosby admitted obtaining illegal drugs, which he gave to women so he could have sex with them. He insists the sex was consensual.
Gosar said the testimony prompted him to file the bill.
He cited Cosby’s admission in his 2005 deposition that he had obtained Quaaludes, a sedative and popular recreational drug in the 1970s and gave them to young women so he could have sex with them.
The legislation calls on President Obama to revoke the medal and affirms a president’s power to do so. It also imposes criminal penalties for anyone who displays a medal after being stripped.
President Obama has bestowed the honor 102 times, more than any recent president.
President Clinton awarded 88 medals, President George W. Bush awarded 81 medals and President George H.W. Bush awarded 41. President Ronald Reagan held the previous record with 101 awards.
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