Bill Cosby will finally have to answer for the numerous allegations of sexual abuse and assault that have come out against him in the past two years. The Cosby Show star, 78, has been charged with aggravated indecent assault, a second-degree felony, in the investigation of an alleged sexual assault case from 2004.
The news broke in a press conference on Wednesday, December 30. It is the first time that Cosby has been charged in a criminal case, despite the slew of allegations against him.
“We are here to announce today charges that have just been filed against William Henry Cosby,” First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele told the press. “These charges stem from a sexual assault that took place at Mr. Cosby’s home. … He is expected to be arraigned later this afternoon.”
The 2004 accusations come from a former Temple University employee, who told police that the comic drugged and violated her in Philadelphia. The case was previously denied by a district attorney in 2005. It was reopened this summer after damaging testimony was unsealed in a related civil lawsuit involving dozens of other women who had accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting them.
Steele went on to note that they will be seeking “justice on behalf of the victim,” adding, “Reopening the case was not a question, rather, reopening this case was our duty.”
Cosby has also filed a defamation suit against seven of the women who have accused him of sexual assault for “their malicious, opportunistic, false, and defamatory accusations of sexual misconduct against him.” His lawyers have previously denied the allegations.
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that the charge against Cosby was a first-degree felony, as that was the information given in the press conference. The DA has since clarified that the charge is a second-degree felony.