Bill Cosby was charged on Wednesday with aggravated indecent assault stemming from a 2004 sexual assault allegation in Pennsylvania. The charges come just under the 12-year deadline for the statute of limitations, and Cosby will be arraigned on the charges later Wednesday afternoon.
Montgomery County prosecutor Kevin Steele announced the charges in a press conference on Wednesday morning, saying that new information had come to light over the summer that prompted the new legal action.
Steele specifically cited the public release of a series of 2005 depositions by Cosby and a former Temple University basketball manager who had accused the comedian of sexual assault in a civil case after Pennsylvania prosecutors declined to press charges at the time. The civil suit was settled out of court in 2006, but since then dozens of women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting them, often with similar stories of having been drugged.
“The evidence shows Mr. Cosby established a relationship with the victim after meeting her through her work,” Steele said. “The victim came to consider Mr. Cosby her mentor and her friend.”
Cosby then made two sexual advances that were rejected, Steele said. On the evening in question, Cosby allegedly “urged her to take pills” and wine, “the effect of which made her unable to move or respond to his advances.”
“Reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers,” Steele said. “After examination of all the evidence we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim.”
The alleged victim, whose name has already been published in previous press accounts, has indicated she would be willing to cooperate with the prosecution.
When asked what new information had come to light thanks to the public release of the 2005 depositions, Steele indicated that Cosby having admitted to previously acquiring the sedative drugs Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with was a factor in the charges.
The prosecutor also said that there is no denying that the alleged victim in the case was given some form of pill, though Steele indicated he didn’t know what, before the alleged assault.
“There is a number of aspects that are undisputed in the case,” he said. “There’s not a question in terms of pills being provided to her. There’s not a question in terms of what went on in terms of the [sexual act].”
Steele said the victim was “frozen, paralyzed, unable to move” at the time Cosby allegedly assaulted her.
“A person in that state cannot give consent,” Steele said.
Update, Dec. 30, 2015, 11:00 a.m.: The alleged victim Andrea Constand has released a statement via her legal team.