Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault in Pennsylvania
Charges stem from 2004 incident involving a former Temple University employee
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced Wednesday that they will charge Bill Cosby with felony aggravated indecent assault in connection with an incident involving a former Temple University employee in 2004.
The 78-year-old comedian is required to appear at an arraignment on Wednesday afternoon around 4 p.m. ET in Pennsylvania for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Elkins Park home in Pennsylvania mansion. Earlier today, a warrant was issued for his arrest, reports People.
The statute of limitations to charge Cosby expires in January. This is the first time the comedian has faced charges since the flood of allegations began more than a year ago.
Prosecutors say the case was reopened after court documents from a sexual-abuse lawsuit filed by Constand were made public in July. In a 2005 deposition, Cosby admitted he obtained Quaaludes with the intent of drugging young women in order to have sex with them.
Cosby met Constand through Temple University’s women’s basketball program. Prosecutors say Cosby made two sexual advances toward Constand that were rejected before he urged her to take pills with wine at his home. He then assaulted her, prosecutors allege.
More than 50 women have accused the comedian of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them. Cosby has denied all of the allegations.
Two weeks ago, Cosby filed a defamation lawsuit against seven of his accusers.
Meanwhile, an organization that fought to revoke Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this year reacted with relief after hearing about today’s charges.
“This is a major step forward in the case against Bill Cosby and the first opportunity for his accusers to have their day in court,” said Angela Rose, executive director of PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment), in a statement. “Hopefully as this case proceeds, it will provide Mr. Cosby’s many other accusers an opportunity to confront him about his alleged crimes and send a strong message about the importance of consent in sexual relationships.”
In July, President Obama responded to a petition seeking to revoke Cosby’s medal by saying there was no mechanism or precedence in place to take such a drastic action.