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Obama Rejects Revocation of Cosby's Medal of Freedom

FILE - Actor Bill Cosby, April 2011.
FILE - Actor Bill Cosby, April 2011.

President Barack Obama has rejected the idea of revoking Bill Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom because of sexual misconduct allegations against the actor-comedian.

Obama told reporters Wednesday at the White House there is no precedent or mechanism for taking back Cosby's medal. A sexual assault awareness group has petitioned the Obama administration to revoke the medal. Its online petition had nearly 11,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

The president declined to talk about the specific allegations against Cosby; however, he said if anyone gives a drug to someone else without that other person's knowledge, and then has sex with the other person, "that's rape."

Obama also said, "Any civilized country should have no tolerance for rape."

Court documents show Cosby admitted under oath that he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

Numerous women have accused the entertainer of sexual assault and rape, with the earliest alleged incidents taking place in the mid-1960s, and with many alleged to have been drug-facilitated. Cosby has denied the allegations and has never been criminally charged.

Cosby received his Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor.