Bill Cosby leaving the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after a mistrial was declared last week in his sexual assault case. (Matt Rourke / AP)

Less than a week after a sexual assault case against him ended in a mistrial, Bill Cosby has announced plans to embark on a town hall-style speaking tour around the country. The primary audience, according to his spokesman, is “young people” who “need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing.”

NPR reports:

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told the TV show Good Day Alabama that the town halls cold start as soon as next month, and noted the issues were particularly important for young athletes. …

Ebonee Benson, who has acted as a spokesperson for Cosby’s wife, Camille, also appeared on the program and said part of the idea for the town halls is to discuss laws that are changing. “The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended, so this is why people need to be educated on a brush against a shoulder, anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”

The announcement sparked immediate criticism from organizations that work with survivors of sexual assault. “It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place,” RAINN spokeswoman Jodi Omear told The New York Times.

Others responded on Twitter to news of the tour:

In the criminal trial, which ended in a hung jury, Andrea Constand alleged Cosby sexually assaulted her in 2004.

Jurors have since spoken about the intense decision-making process, in which two jurors ultimately blocked a guilty verdict. Rape culture, as the Women’s March noted in its tweet above, may have had an impact on the jury’s decision: One anonymous juror told The Philadelphia Inquirer he didn’t believe Constand’s testimony, noting that Constand “went up to [Cosby’s] house with a bare midriff.”

The juror added that he believed Cosby “was extremely honest” and that Constand should have gone to Cosby’s home only if she had been “dressed properly” and didn’t bring incense.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing several of the women making claims against Cosby, told the Times that Cosby’s planned speaking events “appear to be a transparent and slick effort to attempt to influence the jury pool from which jurors will be selected for his second criminal trial.”

Cosby is facing a backlash from this month’s trial. The University of Missouri has announced it is revoking an honorary degree granted to Cosby in 1999. The university’s board of curators voted unanimously to strip Cosby of his doctorate in humane letters, citing the sexual assault allegations against him.

Dozens of women have alleged Cosby sexually assaulted them in some way, but because of statutes of limitations, most have been unable to bring criminal charges against him. According to the BBC, prosecutors plan to retry Cosby in Constand’s case in about four months.

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