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Barack Obama: Bill Cosby medal of freedom can't be revoked

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Susan Walsh/AP

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said that while he wouldn’t comment on the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, giving someone a drug without their knowledge and then having nonconsensual sex with them was “rape.”

Obama was initially asked whether he would strip Cosby of the Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 2002. “With respect to the medal of freedom. There’s no precedent for revoking a medal — we don’t have that mechanism,” Obama said. He then paused and discussed sexual assault in general, without specifically mentioning Cosby by name.

“And as you know I tend to make it a policy not to comment on the specifics of cases where there might still be — if not criminal then civil issues involved,” Obama said. “I’ll say this: If you give a woman, or a man for that matter, without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country — any civilized country — should have no tolerance for rape.”

Last week, a 2005 deposition was released and revealed that Cosby obtained Quaaludes with the intent of drugging young women in order to have sex. In the same documents, Cosby also admitted to giving the sedative to at least one woman.

 

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