Belfast Telegraph

University of Missouri scholars strip Bill Cosby of honorary degree

More than 20 other schools across America have also revoked degrees and honours given to the embattled comedian.

Officials at the University of Missouri have stripped Bill Cosby of his honorary degree less than a week after his sexual assault case was declared a mistrial in Pennsylvania.

The move marks the first time the University of Missouri's Board of Curators has voted to revoke an honorary degree.

Students and academics recommended curators take back Cosby's 1999 doctorate in humane letters in November (16), with school president Mun Choi stating the comedian's actions did not reflect the university's values.

Choi cited sexual misconduct and rape allegations from almost 60 women for the reasons behind his decision.

More than 20 other colleges and universities across America have previously withdrawn honorary degrees and honours from Cosby following the decades-old sexual assault accusations, which first went public in 2015.

Cosby's sexual assault case brought against him by Andrea Constand was declared a mistrial on Saturday (17Jun17), after jurors failed to reach a verdict on the sixth day of deliberations, after Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill spent hours interviewing each member.

"This jury is hopelessly deadlocked," he said.

Comedian Cosby, 79, was facing up to 30 years behind bars on three charges of aggravated indecent assault, accused of drugging and sexually molesting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University basketball manager, at his home in 2004.

Prosecutors have already confirmed they will retry The Cosby Show star.

The trial lasted for just six days and the funnyman did not testify. His accuser took the stand and recalled the night she was allegedly molested, telling the court, "I was jolted conscious, jolted awake, and I felt Mr. Cosby’s hand groping my breasts, under my shirt. I felt his hand inside my vagina, moving in and out. And I felt him take my hand, place it on his penis and move it back and forth."

The comedian's lawyers maintained throughout the trial their client and Constand's sexual relationship was consensual.

Cosby initially settled with Constand in 2005 when she first reported the sex assault to police and filed a civil lawsuit.

A recorded deposition the TV star gave, in which he confessed to plying women with sedatives before having sex with them and confirmed he had slept with Constand, was unsealed in 2015, prompting prosecutors to reopen the criminal case.

Cosby was arrested on charges he assaulted Constand in 2016.

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