Bill Cosby-Inspired Legislation Signed Into Law by California Governor

New law will eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault

Last Updated: September 28, 2016 @ 4:11 PM

A bill partially inspired by the sexual assault allegations against scandal-plagued comedian Bill Cosby was signed into law on Wednesday by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

The law, titled SB 813, will eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault in the state.

A number of Cosby’s accusers testified before the California Legislature to support the bill, dubbed the Justice for Victims Act, before it made its way to Brown’s desk.

The statute of limitations for felony sex crimes in California has typically been 10 years.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents those accusers and met with key Brown advisors on the bill, hailed the governor’s decision to sign the bill into law.

“The passage of this new law means that the courthouse doors will no longer be slammed shut in the face of rape victims,” Allred said. “It puts sexual predators on notice that the passage of time may no longer protect them from serious criminal consequences for their acts of sexual violence.”

While the law will not be retroactive, Allred said, “it is an important victory.  We hope that this will send a message to other states to follow California’s lead and provide much needed justice for victims.”

In January, the Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to pursue charges against Cosby stemming from a sexual assault allegation, citing the statute of limitations. In that case, the accuser claimed that Cosby took her to a Hollywood jazz club in 1965 when she was 17 years old and bought her alcoholic beverages. The accuser had claimed that Cosby then took her to a private residence and forced her to have intercourse with him.

Cosby has been accused of rape or sexual assault by dozens of women.The comedian has denied the allegations, and in some cases has sued his accusers.

The former “Cosby Show” star has been slapped with multiple lawsuits in the wake of the scandal. He has also been charged with felony sexual assault stemming from accusations made by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who alleges that Cosby assaulted her in 2004.