Cosby charged with sexually assaulting Ontario woman in 2004

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting an Ontario woman at his home 12 years ago -- the first criminal charges brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as America's Dad.

See Full Article

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

The woman at the centre of the case is Andrea Constand, a Toronto massage therapist who was a Temple University employee in Pennsylvania at the time of the alleged assault.

She told police that Cosby drugged her and violated her by putting his hands down her pants at his mansion in suburban Philadelphia in 2004, but no charges were initially laid.

On Wednesday, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault, punishable by five to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine.

Prosecutors accused him of rendering Constand unable to resist by plying her with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers without her consent, when she was unconscious or unaware of what was happening.

She was "frozen, paralyzed, unable to move," Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said in announcing the charge. He urged any other alleged victims to come forward as well.

The charge was laid just days before the 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out.

Cosby had acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Constand but said it was consensual. Calls to his attorneys were not immediately returned

Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in a related civil lawsuit by Constand 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."

Many of those alleged assaults date back decades, and the statute of limitations for bringing charges has expired in nearly every case.

A lawyer for Constand said her now 42-year-old client welcomed the charges.

"She feels that they believe her, and, to any victim, that is foremost in your mind: Are people going to believe me," said attorney DoloresTroiani.

A statement from Troiani's office also expressed appreciation for the "the consideration and courtesy" the district attorney's office and police had shown to Constand during a "difficult time."

The charge adds to the towering list of legal problems facing Cosby, including defamation and sex-abuse lawsuits filed in Boston, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

Cosby in 1965 became the first black actor to land a leading role in a network drama, "I Spy," and he went on to earn three straight Emmys.

Over the next three decades, the Philadelphia-born comic created TV's animated "Fat Albert" and the top-rated "Cosby Show," the 1980s sitcom celebrated as groundbreaking television for its depiction of a warm and loving family headed by two black professionals -- one a lawyer, the other a doctor.

He was a fatherly figure off camera as well, serving as a public moralist and public scold, urging young people to pull up their saggy pants and start acting responsibly.

Constand, who worked for the women's basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee and proud alumnus, said she was assaulted after going to his home in January 2004 for some career advice.

Then-district attorney Bruce Castor declined to charge Cosby, saying at the time that both the TV star and his accuser could be portrayed in "a less than flattering light." This year, Castor said the allegations in Constand's lawsuit were more serious than the account she gave police.

After the criminal case went nowhere, Constand settled her lawsuit against Cosby in 2006 on confidential terms.

Her allegations and similar ones from other women in the years that followed did not receive wide attention but exploded into view in late 2014, after comedian Hannibal Buress mocked Cosby as a hypocrite and called him a rapist during a standup routine. That opened the floodgates on even more allegations.

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 testified that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women he wanted to have sex with. 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 the deposition, Cosby said he put his hands down Constand's pants that night and fondled her, taking her silence as a green light. Constand maintains she was semi-conscious after he gave her pills he said would relax her.

"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 that night. She went to police a year later.

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



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Liam Gallagher to make solo debut for Manchester relief

    Entertainment CTV News
    Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher on Friday announced his solo debut with a concert in his native Manchester to support families affected by the deadly suicide attack at the city's arena. The singer, infamous during the heyday of Oasis in the 1990s for his foul mouth and hard-living, said that Tuesday's show will raise money for a Red Cross-supported appeal following the blast that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert. Source
  • Guitar king Clapton honoured by France

    Entertainment CTV News
    Guitar legend Eric Clapton has been honoured by France for his services to music, the French embassy in London said Friday. Clapton was made a commander in the Order of Arts and Letters (l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on Thursday by French ambassador Sylvie Bermann, who called him an "ambassador of the blues in France". Source
  • Brad Pitt, Pharrell among mourners at Chris Cornell memorial [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Brad Pitt and Pharrell joined mourners Friday at Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s memorial service at a storied Hollywood cemetery. Soundgarden music played from a portable speaker outside the cemetery’s gates as a group of about a dozen fans gathered outside. Source
  • Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor split

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Ben Stiller and his wife announced Friday that they are separating after 17 years of marriage. Stiller and actress Christine Taylor released a joint statement Friday announcing their breakup. They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority. Source
  • Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor announce separation

    Entertainment CTV News
    Actor Ben Stiller, left, and wife Christine Taylor during Stiller's Hand & Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, December, 3, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP) Source
  • David Hasselhoff denied Leonardo DiCaprio 'Baywatch' role

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Leonardo DiCaprio’s parents are still sore with David Hasselhoff for refusing to cast their son as his kid on Baywatch. Hasselhoff admits he ran into DiCaprio and his folks at the Cannes Film Festival premiere for The Great Gatsby in 2013 — and they still remembered the snub. Source
  • Anthrax wants to back up Lady Gaga

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anthrax has offered to hit the road as Lady Gaga’s backing band after watching her front Metallica at the Grammy Awards. The Poker Face singer joined Metallica for a performance of their song Moth Into Flame at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it was enough to convince guitarist Scott Ian that she should have a heavy rock act behind her at all times. Source
  • Chris Cornell of Soundgarden laid to rest in Hollywood

    Entertainment CBC News
    Music's elite and celebrities remembered Chris Cornell at a somber memorial service Friday that focused on the Soundgarden frontman's love of family and friends as much as it did on his musical achievements as one of rock's leading voices. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Alamo cinema chain doubles down with more ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Movie chain doubles down on ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source