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Could L.A. be the next place where Bill Cosby faces assault charges?

With Bill Cosby charged Wednesday with sexual assault following accusations that he drugged and abused a woman at his Pennsylvania home 12 years ago, questions have arisen about whether the actor will face criminal charges on similar allegations made against him in Los Angeles.

Numerous women have come forward to say Cosby assaulted them in L.A.

Is the Los Angeles Police Department investigating any of the claims?

They are investigating one. 

It involves allegations by a woman who says Cosby assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008, when she was 18.

Chloe Goins alleges Cosby gave her a drink that caused her to black out. When she awoke, she said, she found herself naked on a bed in the mansion with Cosby biting her toes, with his pants around his ankles, according to her attorney. Cosby's attorneys have denied the accusations.

In January, Goins, 24, was interviewed for 2 1/2 half hours by an LAPD detective.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said prosecutors were reviewing an investigation by the LAPD regarding an alleged incident in 2008. However, the district attorney's office did not release the name of the victim in that case. 

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Isn't bringing a case challenging because of the statute of limitations?

Yes. 

In most other adult sex-crime cases -- including the type Goins is alleging -- the statute of limitations is generally six years.

But legal experts said there are other reasons for the LAPD to investigate, especially if Cosby is charged with a crime.

California law allows victims to testify as witnesses even if their own cases never result in charges. The evidence is admissible because of a 1996 change in California law that allowed witnesses to prove a pattern of behavior or propensity to commit a crime.

Has this law been used before?

Such supporting witnesses were used in the trial of a Pasadena track coach accused of molesting students and in the case of celebrity fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander. In the Alexander case, six women whose cases did not result in criminal charges testified against him. The designer was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women.

Why is the LAPD investigating?

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced in December 2014 that his detectives would investigate any complaints filed with the LAPD against the comedian, even those exceeding the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution.

At the time, LAPD officials said there were many reasons to investigate sexual assault allegations that fall beyond those legal deadlines. Old accusations may lead investigators to more recent incidents with other victims. They may also lead detectives to perpetrators -- such as teachers or day care workers -- who might still have access to potential victims.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

Update

 

11:25 a.m.: This article was updated to include comment from the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.

 

 

 

 

This article was originally published at 8:20 a.m.

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