Inside Lili Bernard's Decision to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Bill Cosby
It took Lili Bernard nearly 25 years to muster up the courage to report one of Bill Cosby’s drugging and sexual assaults to the police, only to find out she was too late.
New Jersey had no statute of limitations for sexual assault charges when she went to the Atlantic City, N.J. police in April 2015, but still had them in the early 1990s, when she said her rape occurred, so her case simply didn’t qualify.
It’s something that happens all too frequently to sexual assault victims - it takes them years, sometimes decades to tell anyone what happened to them, let alone the police, especially if their rapist is someone rich, powerful and beloved like Bill Cosby - then when they do, they find out their window for getting justice has passed.
It’s why Lili and fellow Cosby survivors Victoria Valentino, Janice Baker-Kinney, Linda Kirkpatrick and Patricia Steuer, led by Caroline Heldeman, a college professor and co-chair of End Rape Statute of Limitations, successfully pushed for the statute of limitations laws for sexual assault to be abolished in California. (Cosby survivors Beth Ferrier, Heidi Thomas and Lise Lotte-Lublin led similar efforts in Colorado in Nevada, which got them extended in both states.) It was too late for all of them but now, at least, it wouldn’t be for victims who came forward in the future.