Nearly a year ago, entertainer Bill Cosby was arrested on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, in 2004. Today, Cosby makes an appearance in Montgomery County Court in Norristown for a pretrial hearing. His lawyers will to try to limit the number of accusers who can testify at the actor’s sexual assault trial in June.
Prosecutors will argue they should be able to call 13 other women as witnesses in the case. The women allege Cosby drugged and molested them. In some cases, the alleged events date back decades. Prosecutors are trying to portray a pattern of sexual abuse by Cosby.
“These 13 women have given their testimony to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office,” explained WHYY reporter Laura Benshoff, who has been covering the case. “In each case, the woman is younger than Cosby. In each case, they either had a type of mentor relationship or they met him out and about.
“He ingratiated himself; and at some point, he gave them a pill or a drink that incapacitated them and led to their being sexually assaulted,” she said, summarazing the charges against him. Cosby admitted in a 2005 civil deposition that he bought Quaaludes and gave them to women before having sex with them. He has denied the charges, saying the sexual contact was consensual.
That revelation led to dozens of women coming forward. These alleged incidents took place as early as 1964, all the way through the 1990s.
The women’s reluctance to come forward could be used by defense attorneys to try to discredit their stories, according to Benshoff.
“Most of these women didn’t tell anyone in a position of authority,” she said. “So their cases remained their own accounts and that’s something the defense attorneys will challenge during the hearing.”
Cosby had first Constand her in 2002 through his affiliation with Temple University. She was working for the women’s basketball team. Cosby, a Temple alumnus, resigned his post on Temple’s board of directors in 2014 when the new allegations began to mount. He had served on the board for more than three decades.
For more on the Cosby case, press play at the top of the page.