Bill Cosby faces sexual assault criminal charge for 1st time after numerous allegations

Bill Cosby arrives at court to face a felony charge of aggravated indecent assault Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Elkins Park, Pa. Cosby was charged Wednesday with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home 12 years ago. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(CNN) — Legendary comedian Bill Cosby is now facing a sexual assault charge in Pennsylvania. He appeared in court Wednesday and posted his $1 million bail a short time later.

The charge follows dozens of claims from different women that he drugged and abused them over a period of more than 40 years.

After year of denials and claims that the encounter was “consensual,” Bill Cosby, for the first time, faces criminal charges for the alleged sexual assault of a Pennsylvania woman.

The charges coming after Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, accused Cosby of drugging, then assaulting her in 2004 when she visited the man she considered a friend and mentor at his Pennsylvania home.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said that “Mr. Cosby made two sexual advances at her that were rejected. On the evening in question, Mr. Cosby urged her to take pills that he provided to her and to drink wine, the effect of which rendered her unable to move, respond to his advances.”

Though Constand came forward in 2005, the district attorney at the time did not file charges. That same year, Constand sued Cosby, the comedian then settling for an undisclosed amount.

Legal documents in that case were unsealed for the first time this past July and the deposition made public. In it, Cosby admits giving women quaaludes, but never without their knowledge.

Constand’s lawyer asks Cosby: “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Cosby replies: “yes.”

That deposition, and other evidence unsealed in the civil case, paved the way for a new district attorney to re-investigate the allegations.

In the criminal complaint, Constand says Cosby told her the pills were herbal, and after taking them she lost her strength, but was was aware of Cosby “fondling her breasts” and of “his hands into her pants.”

“What we know is that pills were provided,” Steele said. “There’s inconsistencies on (what pills they were). There was also wine provided. We then go to the reaction of the victim. You know, frozen, paralyzed, unable to move. A person in that state cannot give consent.”

Constand was the first woman to publicly come forward accusing Cosby. Since then, some 50 women have alleged similar sexual assaults over a period of four decades, most involving the use of drugs.

Cosby has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and even filed a counter suit against seven women earlier this month. He said their accusations hurt his reputation and derailed his plans for a new comedy show.

Prosecutors are right up against the expiration of the 12-year statue of limitations for sexual assault cases in Pennsylvania, which will close early next year.

Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

This booking photograph released by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office shows Bill Cosby, who was arrested and charged Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in district court in Elkins Park, Pa., with aggravated indecent assault. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in January 2004. (Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney via AP)
This booking photograph released by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office shows Bill Cosby, who was arrested and charged Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in district court in Elkins Park, Pa., with aggravated indecent assault. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in January 2004. (Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney via AP)

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