Bill Cosby was charged today in Philadelphia’s suburban Montgomery County with felony indecent assault, reviving a decade-old allegation that he sexually attacked a former Temple University employee, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The charges against the 78-year-old, a television celebrity once celebrated as “America’s Dad,” followed more than a year of claims by scores of women that Cosby had sexually assaulted them over the past four decades. Cosby has repeatedly denied sexually assaulting anyone, including Andrea Constand, the woman at the center of the emerging criminal case.
Constand, now 42 and living in Toronto, first accused Cosby in 2005, when she told Cheltenham, Pa., police that he drugged and assaulted her a year earlier while she was working as the operations manager for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. Montgomery County authorities investigated her claims at the time but eventually decided not to pursue a case, citing a lack of evidence. District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman reopened the investigation this summer in light of accounts from more than 50 women who have since come forward describing encounters with Cosby dating back decades and similar to the one outlined by Constand. Nearly all of those allegations have proved too old to prosecute. Under Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations for felony sex crimes, Montgomery County prosecutors had until January to file a case based on Constand’s claims.