Bill Cosby Charged in 2004 Sexual Assault Investigation
By Antoinette Bueno
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Charges Filed Against Bill Cosby in 2004 Sexual Assault Case
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Bill Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault -- a second degree felony -- in the investigation of an alleged incident that took place in January 2004.
He will be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Steele of the District Attorney's Office of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania said in a press conference on Wednesday morning. Cosby, 78, must appear before the judge at that time, Steele said.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 5-10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Former Temple employee Andrea Constand alleges that the comedian drugged and violated her at his mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, more than a decade ago. The charges filed on Wednesday are a result of new information that came to light beginning in July 2015, when a federal judge unsealed a 2015 deposition in the case. After determining the statute of limitations regarding the potential criminal offense had not yet expired -- which is 12 years -- an investigation was reopened.
The statute of limitations to charge Cosby on the alleged incident would have run out in January.
"On behalf of our client, Andrea Constand we wish to express our appreciation to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, the County Detectives and the Cheltenham Police Department for the consideration and courtesy they have shown Andrea during this difficult time," Constand's lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, said in a statement to ET on Wednesday. "We have the utmost confidence in Mr. Steele, Ms. Feden and their team, who have impressed us with their professionalism. In that this matter is now being pursued in the criminal justice system, we will not comment further. "
Constand, the former director of operations for the Temple University women's basketball team, says that in November of 2002, she met with Cosby -- a Temple University alum -- when he approached her and offered to be her mentor in an attempt to gain her trust. In January 2004, she says she met with Cosby at his home in Pennsylvania and alleges that he gave her three blue pills that he said would ease her anxiety. Constand claims that after drugging her, Cosby groped and sexually assaulted her.
According to a press release from the Office of the District Attorney, Constand says she did not consent to any of these acts, and reported that she was unable to move or speak and felt "frozen" and "paralyzed."
In March 2005, Constand filed civil charges against Cosby. Thirteen unidentified women agreed to serve as Jane Doe witnesses to testify that they too were sexually assaulted by Cosby, but the case was settled out of court for an unspecified amount in November 2006, and the 13 witnesses didn't get the chance to take the stand.
According to court documents obtained by ET in June, Cosby admitted that he obtained Quaaludes to give to women that he was looking to have sex with in the 2005 deposition in Constand's case.
This will mark the first criminal charges against Cosby, after more than 50 women have accused him of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them. He has denied all wrongdoing.
Earlier this month, Cosby's attorney, Monique Pressley, said that the embattled star was taking legal action against seven of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Pressley referred to the women's allegations as "malicious, opportunistic and false and defamatory."