Allegations from more than 50 women
The now elderly comedian and alleged serial rapist, Bill Cosby, who rose to worldwide fame in the ‘80s as the cable-knit-jersey-wearing dad we all loved, has fallen from grace in recent years after sexual assault allegations from at least 55 women.
Cosby denies all the accusations, which date back as far as 1965, and his team of lawyers called his accusers liars. These accusations range from groping and indecent exposure to being drugging and raping his alleged victims.
Where is Cosby now?
Cosby is currently out on bail and is set to stand trial after being arrested on sexual assault charges in December 2015. He was charged with aggravated indecent assault in connection to the case of Andrea Constand, who alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
According to Channel24, the 78-year-old TV star could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Why has he not been criminally charged before?
This is the first time Cosby has been criminally charged as many of his alleged victims were too afraid to come forward. Some waited too long and the statute of limitations on their cases had passed, which prevented prosecution.
Who else is suing him?
Another woman named Judy Huth, who claims that Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was just 15 in 1974, is also suing the star in a civil case. TIME reports that her lawyer, Gloria Allred, is arguing that the statute of limitations on sexual abuse be extended for Huth since she is now an adult who survived being abused as a child.
Jezebel reports that Cosby also faces charges of defamation from seven other women who have been granted access to Andrea Constand’s case file. Many of these women testified anonymously during the civil case that Constand brought against Cosby in 2005, which was subsequently settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and a confidentiality agreement between the parties involved.
The seven women, who brought a collective defamation case against Cosby in 2014 after he called them liars when they brought their sexual assault claims to public knowledge, are Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie. Their lawyer, Joseph Cammarata requested files from Constand’s attorney, Dolores Troiani, who wanted to share the information, but was halted by an appeal from Cosby’s lawyers. However, the seven women were granted limited access to the files by US District Judge Anita Brody after she ruled that Constand was the one who had agreed to confidentiality and not the seven women who were now seeking access to the files Variety reported.
The embattled comedian has countersued the seven women for defamation with his lawyers calling their accusations “malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory” in a statement. The same statement also says the women’s lawsuit is an “intentional campaign to assassinate (Cosby’s) character for their own financial gain.”
Janice Dickinson called a “liar”
Cosby also faces another defamation lawsuit from Janice Dickinson, reports Deadline, who sued the actor and his former lawyer Marty Singer (who has now been removed as a defendant in the case) after Singer sent out a press release on behalf of Cosby which called Dickinson a “liar” back in November 2014 after she accused Cosby of a sexual assault that happened more than 30 years ago.
Another case of defamation, brought against Cosby by Renita Hill alleging that the actor and his lawyer had defamed her in the media, was dismissed in January 2015, according to CNN, on the grounds that the statements do not support a claim for defamation.
Another defamation case
Kristina Ruehli, according to the New York Times, also filed a defamation suit against Cosby in November 2015 after he said she was lying, in the same statement that allegedly defamed Janice Dickinson, released through his former lawyer Marty Singer. The statement was released after Ruehli gave an interview to Philadelphia Magazine.
Former model Chloe Goins, who says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at the Playboy mansion in 2008, dropped the civil suit against him, without explanation, reports USA Today in January 2016. Goins is the youngest and most recent of Cosby’s many accusers. The Los Angeles district attorney declined to file criminal charges in her case, however, since the California statute of limitations for sexual assault had expired.
Cosby admits to buying drugs with intent to use
According to CNN, the Cosby Show star admitted in court to obtaining prescription Quaaludes (part sleeping pill, part sedative which, says TIME, became a popular party drug in the ‘70s and ‘80s) to give to women in order to have sex with them. These court documents are from Constand’s 2005 case against Cosby, which were made public in 2015 after the Associated Press went to court to compel their release.
How is Cosby’s wife involved?
Cosby’s wife, Camille, was forced to testify in the defamation suit filed by the seven women, even though her lawyers tried to halt the proceedings. ABC News says Camille gave two-and-a-half hours of testimony during the course of her seven-hour deposition (a witness's sworn out-of-court testimony) during which her lawyers evoked the Massachusetts marital-disqualification rule more than a dozen times. This rule means that she could refuse to testify about certain private conversations that occurred between herself and her husband.
The picture painted of Cosby, the accused, by the women he allegedly assaulted is one of a man who uses his power and influence to seek out and lure young women with the promise of mentorship or a leg up in the industry. Who would suspect the man who portrayed a loving, caring father of being a serial rapist who drugged women in order to have his way with them? Who would believe that this seemingly wholesome man who never swore on stage, and told loving yet funny stories about his children and wife, would use his power and influence to make sure many of these women didn’t speak out for decades and others not at all?
Well, there are 55 women so far who have asked the world to believe them. These women have not only had to live with the memories of their assault, but have also chosen to speak out against the man who committed these crimes against them in the face of unabashed public scrutiny. Let's choose to believe them. Let's choose to take their side.