LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Statutes of limitations will not deter the Los Angeles Police Department from investigating any sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday.

Beck told reporters the LAPD has not yet received any allegations against the 77-year-old entertainer, but stressed that authorities wouldn’t “turn people away because things are out of statute.”

“You come to us, especially with a sexual allegation, we will work with you,” said Beck.

The move caught many by surprise.

The LAPD did not want to elaborate on the chief’s statement but CBS Legal Analyst Steve Meister says not only are the chief’s comments unusual, what he is suggesting is possibly illegal.

“If the LAPD takes tax payer dollars and uses them to function basically as the private investigator for a private plaintiff that should be construed as an unlawful gift of public funds and it should be barred,” Meister said.

At least 20 women have accused Cosby of sexually abusing them in recent weeks, with many of them claiming they were drugged or plied with alcohol.

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting a girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15.

That filing was followed by a news conference held by attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing three accusers who claim they were also assaulted by Cosby.

Cosby attorney Martin Singer has denied any wrongdoing by his client, KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reported.

On Wednesday, Singer also said one of the alleged victims — the woman who claims Cosby made her touch his private parts against her will at the Playboy mansion — has been trying to “shake him down,” referring to Cosby.

KCAL9’s Laurie Perez reported from outside the LA Superior Court Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Singer not only said one of the alleged victims was trying to extort Cosby, he said the comedian was going to fight back and get money from her.

Singer said they are trying to get the lawsuit thrown out because he said not only is her claim false, she tried to sell the story to the tabloids 10 years ago and she recently made “extortionate threats to Mr. Cosby about criminal penalties, coupled with demands for a six-figure payday to keep quiet.”

He offered as proof, a letter dated December 1, saying “Your demand for money from Mr. Cosby is rejected.”

Singer said it was only after she and her attorney failed to get $100,000 and then $250,000 from Cosby, she “rushed to the courthouse and filed this baseless, time-barred lawsuit.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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