US & Canada

Bill Cosby plans 'sexual assault education' speaking tour

Mr Cosby (centre) alongside his two spokespeople outside the suburban Philadelphia courthouse Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Cosby (centre) alongside his two spokespeople outside the suburban Philadelphia courthouse

Embattled comic Bill Cosby plans to embark on a town hall-style speaking tour to educate young people about sexual assault allegations.

His spokespeople said on Thursday that due to changing laws, more young men will face sexual assault allegations.

Mr Cosby narrowly escaped a prison sentence when a sexual assault trial against him ended in a hung jury.

Prosecutors plan to retry the case. At least 50 other women accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told WBRC-TV's Good Day Alabama that the comedian will begin his summer motivational speaking tour in Alabama as early as July.

"This is bigger than Bill Cosby," Mr Wyatt said, adding "this issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today".

"They need to know what they're facing when they're hanging out and partying, when they're doing certain things that they shouldn't be doing," he told the interviewer.

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Media captionThe Cosby Show guest star Lili Bernard: Cosby is "a lying coward"

"And it also affects married men," Mr Wyatt added with a laugh, leading presenter Janice Rogers to ask: "Is it kind of a 'Do as I say, not as I do' situation?"

Ebonee Benson, who also appeared on the programme, noted that the statute of limitations on sexual assault accusations is being lengthened, allowing accusers more time to come forward to authorities.

"This is why people need to be educated on - you know, a brush on the shoulder - you know, anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it's a good thing to be educated about the laws," said Ms Benson, who is a spokeswoman for Mr Cosby's wife, Camille.

Mr Cosby was planning a comeback comedy tour before charges against were filed against him in December 2015.

He was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, inside his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

At least 50 other women came forward with similar claims, but those alleged assaults happened too long ago for prosecutors to file charges.

Mr Cosby's comedy tour was cancelled, along with a Netflix standup special.

He has also had several honorary degrees and an award from the US Navy revoked.

Prosecutors say they plan to retry him in about four months.

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