Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bill Cosby guilty of sexual assault charges

Accused of sexually assaulting at least 50 women during his decades-long career, the jury in his retrial found him guilty Thursday of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Image Credit: Matt Slocum/AP Photo

After years of accusations, renowned comedian Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman at his home 14 years ago. The jury found Cosby guilty of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, including penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant.

In 2004, Cosby invited Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball administrator, to his home in Philadelphia when he gave her three blue pills to immobilize her in order to sexually assault her. Cosby admitted giving her pills but claimed he only gave her a few capsules of Benadryl to help her relax.

“I was kind of jolted awake and felt Mr. Cosby on the couch beside me, behind me, and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully, and I felt my breast being touched,” Constand recalled. “I was limp, and I could not fight him off.”

After prosecutors initially declined to file criminal charges against Cosby, Constand filed a lawsuit against him. In 2006, Cosby paid her $3.38 million in order to settle the lawsuit against him.

In a deposition given as part of Constand’s suit, Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes and repeatedly giving the sedative to women that he desired sexually. In addition to Cosby’s own words, five more of his accusers testified against him in court.

Former model Janice Dickinson told the jurors that Cosby assaulted her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982, after giving her a pill that he claimed would help with menstrual cramps. She told the court, “Here was America’s Dad on top of me, a happily married man with five children, on top of me.”

At the age of 17, aspiring model Chelan Lasha was invited to Cosby’s suite at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1986 on the pretense of discussing her modeling career. After giving her liquor and a pill, Cosby sexually assaulted the underage girl. In court, Lasha asked Cosby, “You remember. Don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

Although Cosby’s first trial ended with a hung jury last year, the jury in his retrial found him guilty Thursday of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand. The three felony counts, including penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant, are each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.

Accused of sexually assaulting at least 50 women during his decades-long career, Cosby lashed out in court at Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele when the prosecutor requested that Cosby’s bail be revoked due to the possibility of a flight risk. According to NBCNews, Cosby shouted, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!”

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