Bill Cosby is pictured in a Dec. 30, 2015 booking photo released by the Cheltenham Township Police Department.(MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Penn.) — Prosecutors in Montgomery County, PA, have charged Bill Cosby with sexually assaulting a woman more than a decade ago.

Cosby, 78, has been charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in the case of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in January, 2004.  Cosby was arraigned Wednesday afternoon at hearing in which the charges were read.  Cosby entered no plea and made no comment to reporters outside the courthouse.  Bail was set at $1 million and the comedian’s passport was turned over to the court.  The judge told Cosby, “Good luck to you,” to which Cosby responded, “Thank you.”

The specific charges against Cosby are aggravated indecent assault without consent, aggravated indecent assault where the complaintant is unconscious or unaware that penetration is occurring, and aggravated indecent assault where the person impairs the complaintant. 

If convicted, Cosby could face up to ten years in prison.

Constand, now 42, claims Cosby drugged and then sexually assaulted her January 15, 2004 during a dinner at his home.  Constand reported the incident to police at the time, who investigated and closed the case when officials declined to prosecute. Constand then sued and reached an out-of-court settlement with Cosby in 2006.  It’s Cosby’s own deposition in that suit, released last summer, that convinced prosecutors today to charge him. Cosby admits in the deposition to drugging other women and then having sex with them, which he claimed was consensual, and to having sexual contact with Constand. 

Unlike other many of the now dozens of sexual assault claims against the comedian, the statue of limitations in the Constand case has not expired; that was due to happen next month. 

A statement issued by Constand’s attorney after the announcement reads, in part, “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. …In that this matter is now being pursued in the criminal justice system, we will not comment further.”

Joseph Cammarata, the attorney for seven other women who have also accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and have filed civil complaints against him, said in a statement, “This is positive step in its own right and positive step in the civil cases against him.  The charges clearly send a message that there is a belief of sufficient evidence to get a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt — an even higher standard than in civil court.  This clearly undermines Mr. Cosby’s claim that his encounter with Ms. Constand was consensual.”

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Source: General Entertainment