Bill Cosby Finally Charged in Sexual Assault Case

Bill Cosby Finally Charged in Sexual Assault Case

A district attorney in Pennsylvania has finally done what no one else up to this point has been willing to do: bring a criminal case against Bill Cosby for sexual assault.

Bill Cosby, and his accuser, Andrea Constand
Bill Cosby, and his accuser, Andrea Constand

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.

The TV star 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.

Constand, who revealed her identity to the press, was an employee of Temple University when the alleged assault occurred. A civil lawsuit against Cosby was settled in 2006, after the DA at the time declined to bring charges. The AP got some of the documents from the civil suit unsealed earlier this year. The statute of limitations was due to run out on this case in January, which is what prompted the filing of charges right now.

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

A previous district attorney declined to charge Cosby in 2005.

Regarding how the case was previously handled, Steele simply stated, “I’m not going to look at the past… It’s not a time to Monday morning quarterback.”

Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in a 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.”

Many of those alleged assaults date back decades, and the statute of limitations for bringing charges has expired in nearly every case. But Pennsylvania law gives prosecutors up to 12 years for some sex crimes, with the clock running out on this case in January.

The big question is what happens now. Cosby’s image is forever tarnished, and beyond repair. Even if this case doesn’t result in a conviction, Cosby has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. His behavior, confirmed by former fellow actors, shows just what power, celebrity, and money can do to hide criminal actions and consequences for decades. Let’s hope that the district attorney is filing these charges in pursuit of justice, and not merely as a symbolic act. Let’s hope that the jury sees not a celebrity, but a dirty old man who has admitted to using drugs to commit sexual assault.

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Ava Gardner