After more than 50 women came forward to accuse Bill Cosby of raping them, it appears that the comedian is going to face criminal charges in a rape case. The many high-profile allegations against Cosby have resulted in one Pennsylvania district attorney’s office deciding to pursue a criminal prosecution for a sexual assault allegedly committed by Cosby more than a decade ago.
On Dec. 30, 2015, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would be “seeking justice” on behalf of Andrea Constand, a woman who accused Cosby of raping her in 2004. This marks the first time that the 78-year-old Cosby has been formally charged with a crime related to any of the many rape allegations against him.
Constand, the alleged victim in the case, told Montgomery County prosecutors that Cosby drugged and raped her at his Philadelphia home. At the time, Constand was employed by Temple University and worked for the women’s basketball program. Although the case initially stalled because there was no physical evidence, PA district attorneys recently decided to reopen the case and pursue a conviction.
Not long after the felony sexual assault charges were announced, Cosby showed up at a Montgomery County district court in Elkins Park, PA for a formal arraignment. He was then taken into police custody so that he could be fingerprinted and processed. The creator of “The Cosby Show” posted 10 percent of a massive $1 million bail amount and was released from police custody just 15 minutes after being booked at the Cheltenham Township Police Department.
The crime of aggravated indecent assault is classified as a second degree felony. As set forth by Pennsylvania state law, a person can be charged with aggravated indecent assault if they engage in sexual intercourse with another person who is “substantially impaired” as a result of being administered “drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance.” If Cosby is convicted, he could be sentenced to as many as 10 years in state prison.
The high-profile nature of the rape allegations against Bill Cosby have, at times, caused a bit of a media circus, with seemingly the entire country becoming aware of the case. This could make it difficult for prosecutors and defense attorneys to select a jury in the Philadelphia case, since it’s hard to imagine that anyone has not already heard of the allegations. Moreover, it’s also possible that at least some potential jurors will likely already have a preconceived notion of Cosby’s guilt or innocence before hearing evidence in the case.
If you have been accused of rape, sexual assault, or any other sex crime in New Jersey, it is imperative that you have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side early in the process. Even a mere accusation of a sex crime can haunt you for the rest of your life. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty will handle your case with care and discretion and fight to make sure that you avoid the most serious penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.