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Bill Cosby Charged in Rape Case of Lesbian Massage Therapist

Cosby and Constand

The comedian allegedly drugged and raped Andrea Constand, missing cues that she is a lesbian, and now an arrest warrant has been issued.


The lesbian who came out this year when comedian Bill Cosby claimed, as his defense against sexual assault accusations, that he is adept at reading unspoken cues from women will have a chance to face him in the legal system.

The 78-year-old entertainer was charged Wednesday morning with aggravated indecent sexual assault, according to ABC News. The first-degree felony charge stems from Cosby's alleged drugging and rape of Andrea Constand, an out former athlete, at Cosby's mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania in January of 2004. Constand now works as a registered massage therapist in Toronto, Canada.

Cosby will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. If convicted after a trial, Cosby could receive five to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Cosby's lawyers have always maintained his innocence.

"Today, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim. We examined all the evidence and we made this determination because it was the right thing to do," said Kevin Steele, the Montgomery County District Attorney-Elect at a news conference Wednesday in Morristown, Pennsylvania, according to ABC News.

"At this point, we are not looking at other charges," Steele added. Steele also noted that Cosby is being charged before the January 2016 end of the statue of limitations in the case. Steele explained that the charges mark the re-opening of Constand's 10-year-old case against Cosby.

Constand first filed suit against Cosby in 2005, claiming he drugged and raped her at his Pennsylvania home. The former district attorney, Bruce Castor, declined to prosecute Cosby in 2005 because he did not believe there was sufficient evidence. The case was settled in 2006 for an undisclosed amount, and both parties agreed to be bound by a confidentiality agreement that prevented them from talking about the case. But, in July of 2015, Constand's attorney filed a motion to negate the confidentiality agreement and the motion was granted. Cosby's full 2005 deposition in the case was then released to the public and the Pennsylvania District Attorney's office re-opened the case.

In that deposition, Cosby twice answered "yes" under oath to Constand's attorney, Dolores Troiani, when she asked him repeatedly whether he gave drugs to women before or during coitus. Cosby also provided the clearest description yet of his probable role in the 2004 incident with Constand.

"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," Cosby said in the deposition. He also precisely noted that he possessed seven prescriptions for Quaaludes during the 1970s for back pain and he intended to give them to women with whom he socialized.

Steele said in Wednesday's news conference that, after the release of the deposition, new evidence supporting today's charges against Cosby came to light. He did not cite the new evidence. However, a 19-page probable cause affidavit was released to the public. This affidavit describes the latest evidence against Cosby.

The affidavit alleges that in 2004, when Constand was the director of Operations for Temple University's women's basketball team, Cosby invited her to his home to mentor her about her career. Cosby is 37 years Constand's senior. Temple is Cosby's alma mater. He donated heavily to the school when he was a former board member, and he was an avid supporter of the school's athletics.

According to the affidavit, in the 2004 incident, Cosby invited Constand to take three blue pills. After he assured her that the pills were herbal, Constand "trusted" Cosby and took the pills with water. Then she drank wine while they conversed at a table.

Within "twenty to thirty minutes of ingesting pills, water, and wine, she began experiencing blurred vision and difficulty speaking," the affidavit alleges, and "when she told Cosby how she was feeling, he instructed her to lie down and he assisted her to the couch."

Constand described feeling "frozen" and "paralyzed" yet conscious of specific elements of what was happening to her when Cosby purportedly began "fondling her breasts, put his hands into her pants, and penetrated her vagina with his fingers" and "took the victim's right hand" and made Constand touch his genitals before Constand lost full consciousness only to awake at 4 a.m. the next morning.

This summer The Advocate reported that Andrea Constand came out as a lesbian to challenge Cosby's description of himself in court filings as adept at reading women's sexual desires. Constand also came out to demonstrate that, obviously, she did not provide consent to any sexual activity with Cosby.

In the court deposition from a decade ago, Cosby said, "I think I'm a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them." But, Constand told People Magazine that Cosby is a "narcissist" who "missed cues that she's gay." She also noted that, at the time when Cosby allegedly drugged and raped her in 2014, she was dating a woman.

After Constand went public with her ordeal 10 years ago, over 50 women have gradually come forward to share their stories of alleged drugging and rape by Cosby. Three of the women have filed suit against Cosby for defamation after his attorney issued denials in public appearances and social media, labeling Cosby's accusers as focused on money and fame. In turn, Cosby is suing seven of the women for defamation, according to The New York Times.

For 51 years, Cosby has been married to Camille Cosby, who handles his business affairs. Fabled for his stand-up comedy and for starring in such television shows as The Cosby Show and I Spy, Cosby was one of the first black entertainers to gain widespread mainstream appeal in the 1960s.

Cosby was also well-known for his trenchant criticisms of what the comedian felt were the failings of black American people who he said weren't as upstanding as the upper middle class doctors and lawyers depicted in The Cosby Show. Yet, as commentators have now observed, Cosby's hubristic barbs have come back to haunt him.

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Cleis Abeni

Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.
Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.