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Bill Cosby posts $1M bond after sex crime arrest

1/1/2016, 9:16 a.m.
Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday in Pennsylvania with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 after plying her with drugs and ...

Reuters

Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday in Pennsylvania with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 after plying her with drugs and alcohol.

The arrest marks the only criminal case against the once-beloved performer whose father-figure persona has been damaged by dozens of misconduct accusations.

Hours after the charge was filed, Mr. Cosby, 78, arrived at a courthouse in Elkins Park, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, with his attorney, Monique Pressley, and an unidentified man.

Mr. Cosby appeared before Judge Elizabeth McHugh in a brief hearing, where he posted a $1 million bond, turned over his passport and indicated in court that he understood questions that were posed to him. The judge instructed him to present himself to the police station in nearby Cheltenham Township for fingerprinting and booking.

The entire proceeding lasted for several minutes, and Mr. Cosby, walking with a cane, emerged from the courthouse to climb back into the black sport utility vehicle that brought him to the hearing and was driven away.

“Today, after examination of all the evidence, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim,” Kevin Steele, the newly elected district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa., told an earlier news conference. Mr. Steele made a campaign issue of his intent to prosecute Mr. Cosby.

The alleged victim in the case, Andrea Constand, a former basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Mr. Cosby’s alma mater, is one of more than 50 women who have publicly accused the star of sexually assaulting them in incidents dating back decades.

Neither Mr. Cosby nor his representatives could be reached for comment. He and his lawyers, while acknowledging marital infidelity on Mr. Cosby’s part, consistently have denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

Mr. Cosby, who personified the model American family man in his long-running hit television show, was charged with aggravated indecent assault, a second degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The charge was filed just before the statute of limitations deadline for a criminal prosecution was to expire in January. The charge stems from allegations brought by Ms. Constand, who settled a civil case against Mr. Cosby for an undisclosed sum in 2006.

According to an affidavit accompanying the charge, the victim was a guest at Mr. Cosby’s home in Cheltenham, Pa., one evening in January 2004 when he gave her wine and urged her to take three blue pills, prosecutors said in a statement.

“Shortly thereafter, the victim became incapacitated, and Cosby led her to a couch. The victim lay down ... and Cosby positioned himself behind her. Cosby then fondled the victim’s breasts, put his hands inside her pants and penetrated her vagina with his fingers,” prosecutors said.

“The victim did not consent to any of these acts and reported that she was unable to move or speak and felt ‘frozen’ and ‘paralyzed,’ ” prosecutors said.

When questioned by police as to whether he had sex with Ms. Constand, Mr. Cosby, according to the charging documents, answered, “never asleep or awake.” The statement appeared to be at odds with Mr. Cosby’s sworn deposition in the civil case that they had consensual sexual contact.