For the past year, as woman after woman has come forward accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, it seemed as if the iconic TV star might never have to square off with any of his accusers in court. But now that day has come. The 78-year-old is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault for an incident in January 2004 with Andrea Constand.
Constand, 42, now lives in Toronto and works as a licensed massage therapist, but when she first met Cosby in 2002, she was working as the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University in Philadelphia. The 6-foot former college athlete, who led her University of Arizona basketball team to the 1996 National Women’s Invitational Tournament championship, had a girlfriend at the time, and socialized with Cosby occasionally, both alone and with others, at restaurants or at his home in the suburbs.
After playing professional basketball in Europe, followed by three years in her administrative position at Temple, Canadian native Constand began rethinking her career and was considering leaving the sport for good.
According to documents filed in Constand’s civil suit, Cosby invited her to his home for dinner on January 4, 2004, under the guise of offering career advice. Constand claims she woke up the next morning at his home with her clothes rumpled and a vague memory of inappropriate touching.
Cosby “made two sexual advances at her that were rejected,” Kevin Steele, Montgomery County’s district attorney-elect, said in a press conference Wednesday. “Mr. Cosby urged her to take pills and to drink wine, the effect of which left her unable to [rebuff his advances].”
While Constand was not available for comment, her longtime attorney Dolores Troiani told People Wednesday, “We’ll have to see what happens. We hope justice will be done. We will cooperate fully.”
“She’s a person of integrity, and if there is a wrong, she’s going to stand up for it and do the right thing and be a leader,” Jean Bonvinci, who was Constand’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona, told the Associated Press.
In a civil suit unsealed by the courts earlier this year, Troiani described that January 2004 evening further, saying Cosby gave Constand “herbal pills” and later “touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated her.”
In 2005, Constand contacted authorities about the assault, but the district attorney declined to file charges. She followed with the aforementioned civil suit as well as a defamation suit against a Cosby lawyer for accusing her of a celebrity “shakedown.” Both cases were settled in 2006.
The New York Times obtained a copy of Cosby’s deposition from that suit earlier this year. In it the actor is quoted as saying, “I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue, and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.” He later noted, “I think I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions on these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them.”
Constand’s attorney, Troiani, slammed the star this summer, calling him a narcissist and saying, “As defendant admits in his deposition, despite his talent for interpreting female reactions to him, he did not realize [Constand] was gay until the police told him.”