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Los Angeles prosecutors decline sex abuse charges against Les Moonves

The unidentified woman went to police to report three incidents in the 1980s. Prosecutors declined to bring charges due to statute of limitations.
by Andrew Blankstein /  / Updated 
Image: Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation
Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp., attends the annual Allen and Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 11.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

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LOS ANGELES — A woman told Los Angeles police that Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, sexually abused her in the 1980s but prosecutors have declined to pursue the case because the statute of limitations has expired, prosecutors told NBC News on Tuesday.

The unidentified woman, an acquaintance of Moonves, went to police in December to report three incidents, one from 1986 and two others in 1988.

Based on the woman’s allegations, authorities were considering three possible criminal charges, two misdemeanors, battery and indecent exposure, and a felony, forced oral copulation. The Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division investigated the case. The decision not to prosecute was made in February.

"Victim disclosed the second two incidents to a friend approximately a year before making report to law enforcement," according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney charge evaluation worksheet.

The revelation follows an article published Friday in The New Yorker in which six women, four of whom spoke on the record, alleged sexual harassment or misconduct by Moonves. The allegations date from the 1980s to the 2000s. Four of the women alleged forcible touching or kissing, and two others alleged sexual misconduct or harassment.

It is not known whether the woman who went to police is among those who spoke to the New Yorker.

In response, CBS issued a statement last week saying they were "very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very seriously" and adding "We do not believe, however, that the picture of our company created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect. We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues."

On Monday, the CBS board of directors announced that they were in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations leveled against Moonves.

Moonves has disputed other aspects of the New Yorker report. "I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career," he said. A spokesperson for CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News regarding the prosecutors' decision.

The case was handled by the Los Angeles County DA’S Entertainment Sex Crimes Task Force, which is reviewing about a dozen cases involving Hollywood figures accused of criminal misconduct ranging from inappropriate touching to rape. Prosecutors have declined to bring charges in another dozen cases citing issues including the expiration of the statute of limitations and insufficient evidence to uncooperative victims.

CORRECTION (July 31, 2018 3:35 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated when the woman reported the incidents to authorities. It was in December, not February, which is when prosecutors decided not to pursue charges.

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