Bill Cosby Is Charged With Sexually Assaulting a Woman

Maryclaire Dale, MSN, December 30, 2015

Bill Cosby was arrested and charged Wednesday with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home 12 years ago–the first criminal case brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as America’s Dad.

The case sets the stage for perhaps the biggest Hollywood celebrity trial of the mobile-news era and could send the 78-year-old Cosby to prison in the twilight of his life and pioneering career.

Prosecutors accused him of plying former Temple University employee Andrea Constand with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers without her consent, while she was drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to resist or cry out.

She was “frozen, paralyzed, unable to move,” Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said. In court papers, prosecutors said the drugs were the cold medicine Benadryl or some other, unidentified substance. Steele noted that Cosby has admitted giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.

Andrea Constand

Andrea Constand

The TV star acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Constand but said it was consensual.

Bill Cosby’s attorney Monique Pressley says the charge is unjustified and that the comedian will be exonerated following a vigorous defense.

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The case represents an about-face by the district attorney’s office, which under a previous DA declined to charge Cosby in 2005 when Constand first told police that the comic violated her by putting his hands down her pants at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham.

Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in Constand’s related civil lawsuit against Cosby and as dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations that made a mockery of his image as the wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable from TV’s “The Cosby Show.”

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Constand, now 42, lives in Toronto and works as a massage therapist. Her attorney, Dolores Troiani, welcomed the charges.

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The case adds to the towering list of legal problems facing the TV star, including defamation and sexual-abuse lawsuits filed in Massachusetts, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

A key question if the case goes to trial is whether the judge will allow supporting testimony from other accusers to show similar “bad acts,” even though it is too late to bring charges in most if not all of those instances. The judge could decide such testimony would be unfair.

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Earlier this year, The Associated Press persuaded a judge to unseal documents from the Constand lawsuit, and they showed the long-married Cosby acknowledging a string of affairs and sexual encounters.

Cosby, a longtime resident of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, testified that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women. He denied giving women drugs without their knowledge and said he had used the now-banned sedative “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.'”

In his deposition, Cosby said he gave Constand three half-pills of Benadryl for stress, telling her only that they were her “friends.” He said he fondled Constand, taking her silence as a green light.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped,” Cosby testified. He said Constand was not upset when she left.

Prosecutors said Cosby used wine and drugs to render her incapable of resistance after “the much younger, athletic” Constand blocked two previous sexual advances.

Constand’s lawyer has said Constand is gay and was dating a woman around the time she met Cosby in the early 2000s. {snip}

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