After nearly 60 women have come forward with allegations and more than ten years after a civil suit resolved with an undisclosed cash settlement, Bill Cosby was finally tried for the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand. The trial began on June 5, in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
The allegations against Cosby began surfacing in large numbers in 2014, when a clip of comedian Hannibel Buress doing an extended bit on Cosby went viral. In the routine, which Buress had already been performing for the previous six months, Buress criticized Cosby, saying, “Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby, so that kind of brings you down a couple notches.” When the audience seemed stunned, Buress told them to “google ‘Bill Cosby rape'” and see for themselves.
While several women had filed criminal complaints alleging sexual assault against Cosby in prior years, after the Buress routine countless women came forward with similar accusations against Cosby, including Janice Dickinson, actress Louisa Moritz, Playboy Playmates Victoria Valentino and Sarita Butterfield among others. Most of the alleged assaults took place outside the statutes of limitations for criminal charges in their respective states; however after deposition testimony from the civil suit was unsealed, Cosby was charged with three charges of aggravated indecendt assault in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
The victim from the civil suit, Andrea Constand, took the witness stand on Tuesday and described her sordid history with Cosby; whom she met while coaching the women’s basketball team at Temple University in 2002, Cosby’s alma mater. Cosby was a mentor figure to Constand and the two were close – until one night in January 2004, when Constand alleges Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her.
Cosby could face a decade in jail if found guilty. He has vehemently denied all accusations, despite admitting to extramarital affairs involving recreational use of Quaaludes with many different young women. Since the accusations started rolling in, a number of colleges and universities began revoking honorary degrees given to Cosby over the yeras, including Baylor University, Tufts University, Boston University, Occidental College, and Oberlin College. The jury may begin deliberations as early as next week.