Case against Bill Cosby continues to escalate

7/17/2015, 4:15 a.m. | Updated on 7/17/2015, 4:15 a.m.
The latest in the Bill Cosby case has drawn attention to an unusual condition. A lawyer for one of the ...

Free Press wire reports

The latest in the Bill Cosby case has drawn attention to an unusual condition. A lawyer for one of the women who accused the comedian of sexual assault raised the possibility that he might have the little-known condition called somnophilia.

What exactly is it? The simple explanation: “Being aroused by the idea of having sex with someone sleeping,” whether actual sexual contact occurs or not, said Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

As far as is known, Mr. Cosby has not been diagnosed with this or any other psychological disorder.

The term came up in a motion filed July 8 by a lawyer for Andrea Constand, the first woman to accuse the actor-comedian of sexual assault. Ms. Constand was seeking to force disclosure of more records in her previously settled case. Mr. Cosby acknowledged in a 2005 deposition in the case that was unsealed last week that he obtained quaaludes to sedate women he wanted to have sex with.

“Although some of the women engaged in consensual relations with Cosby, their accounts substantiated defendant’s alleged predilection for somnophilia,” Ms. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, wrote in the motion.

So why might someone be turned on by the thought of sex with someone who is out of it?

“The research on this is very, very limited,” Dr. First said. “It’s possibly that what the person might find arousing is the idea you have full control over this person,” or it could be the lack of consent, the sense of getting away with something, or even just the attraction of seeing the person asleep, he said.

The career of the once beloved star of “The Cosby Show” has been wrecked by allegations from more than 40 women who say Mr. Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Mr. Cosby, 77, has not been criminally charged and his attorneys have denied the allegations.

President Obama, asked during a news conference Wednesday about revoking Mr. Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, said there is no mechanism for doing so, but added no civilized country should tolerate rape.

A national sexual assault prevention group, PAVE, has gathered more than 3,000 signatures asking the White House to revoke Mr. Cosby’s medal, awarded in 2002.

“With respect to the Medal of Freedom, there’s no precedent for revoking a medal. We don’t have that mechanism,” President Obama told reporters. He declined to comment on the specific allegations against Mr. Cosby.

“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,” the president said.