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Cosby sex claim: no criminal charge

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have said they will not charge Bill Cosby after a woman claimed the veteran comedian molested her in the 1970s when she was 15.

Their rejection of a child sexual abuse charge comes about 10 days after Judy Huth spoke to detectives.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office rejected filing a misdemeanour charge of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 because the statute of limitations had passed.

In a civil action, Ms Huth has accused Cosby, 77, of forcing her to perform a sex act on him in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion in around 1974. Cosby's lawyer has said Ms Huth attempted to extort 250,000 dollars (£160,000) from the comedian before she sued.

He also said Ms Huth attempted to sell her story to a tabloid a decade ago.

Cosby is seeking a dismissal of Ms Huth's lawsuit, arguing it is blocked by the statute of limitations.

Ms Huth told police that Cosby molested her and that she had no further contact with him after the incident, according to a summary of her allegations included with the prosecutor's decision.

In rejecting the case, prosecutors evaluated the charge Cosby would have faced in 1974. They took into account legislative changes that extend the statute of limitations for certain crimes, but found no way that Cosby could be legally prosecuted.

The statute of limitations for filing a misdemeanour case is one year; the statute of limitations for a felony sex crime committed in 1974 was three years, according to the prosecutors' analysis.

Ms Huth is one of at least 15 women who have come forward since early November with claims that Cosby sexually assaulted them decades ago. Most of the women say they were drugged before they were assaulted. She is one of two women suing Cosby; a second woman is suing for defamation.

Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations. A 2005 lawsuit by a Pennsylvania woman was settled before it went to trial.

Since the allegations emerged, Cosby's career has unravelled, with nearly a dozen performances cancelled in his stand-up comedy tour. NBC has said it will not move forward with a Cosby sitcom that was under development, and Netflix indefinitely postponed a special that was set to premiere last month.

Cosby's lawyers have denied some of the allegations and dismissed others as decades old and "discredited".

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