Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault trial began Monday. The 79-year-old actor and comedian is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Andrea Constand said Cosby gave her quaaludes, a type of sedative, and sexually assaulted her more than a decade ago.
She is one of dozens of women who have said they were drugged and assaulted by the comedian.
Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby years ago, and a damning deposition from that suit was made public in July 2015.
In that deposition from 2005, Cosby answered “yes” to this question: “When you got the quaaludes was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”
After Constand filed the lawsuit that produced the deposition, she said she could produce more than a dozen other women with similar stories. But that suit was settled in 2006, and Cosby’s reputation remained intact – until a few years ago.
In 2014, another comedian, Hannibal Buress, suggested Cosby was a hypocrite for telling African-Americans how to behave.
Sarcastically imitating Cosby, Buress said: “Pull your pants up, black people! I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you ’cause I had a successful sitcom.”
“Well, yeah, you’re a rapist,” Buress said to the audience.
The taped set went viral, spurring more women to come forward. The renewed attention ultimately led The Associated Press to compel the release of the court deposition from 2005.
Cosby has maintained his innocence even as more and more women have come forward to accuse him of rape.
- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
The accusations have common threads, painting a picture of a man who used his power and influence in the entertainment industry to seek out vulnerable young women and lure them in with the promise of mentorship.
Some have said they felt discouraged from going public because of Cosby’s fame, power, and reputation as “America’s dad.”
Even before Cosby was criminally charged, the accusations hurt his career. Cosby’s agency, Creative Artists Agency, quietly dumped him in 2015.
TV networks yanked reruns of “The Cosby Show,” and Disney took down a statue of the comedian at Hollywood Studios. In 2015, Inside Higher Ed reported that a dozen colleges had revoked his honorary degree.
Here’s an overview of some of the allegations against Cosby by some of the more high-profile women, starting with the one whose case resulted in criminal charges against him.
Constand alleges that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
She went to police with the allegations, but a district attorney ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Cosby. The district attorney on the case later told The Daily Mail that at the time he thought Cosby was probably guilty and wanted to arrest him.
After police declined to charge Cosby, Constand filed a civil suit and lined up 13 other women as supporting witnesses who had stories about Cosby similar to hers. The lawsuit was settled in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.
Constand used to work for the women’s basketball program at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. She said she met Cosby in 2002 and saw him as a mentor. He invited her to dinners at his house, she told The Daily Mail.
She said in court documents that in 2004 she went to Cosby’s house for a visit at his request. He told her he wanted to help her pursue a new career, she said. When she talked about being stressed, he gave her three blue pills that he said were an “herbal medication” to help her relax, she said.
Constand said she then began to feel shaky, weak, and dizzy. She said she told Cosby she wasn’t feeling well, and he led her to a sofa where he laid her down. Constand said she was so impaired she couldn’t walk on her own.
She said Cosby then positioned himself behind her on the sofa and began touching her inappropriately. He then sexually assaulted her while she was barely conscious, she said.
Constand woke up around 4 a.m., with her clothes and underwear in disarray, according to the lawsuit. Cosby greeted her in his bathrobe before she left his house, she said.
Green, a lawyer who lives in California, was the only named supporting witness in Constand’s suit.
When Green heard that the district attorney thought Constand’s story was weak and that she didn’t come forward quickly enough, she decided to step forward and tell her story, she said.
She said that Cosby assaulted her in the 1970s. Green told Newsweek she met Cosby through a friend when she was 19 and modeling in Los Angeles.
Green said she met Cosby for a business lunch one day while she had the flu, and that he gave her pills he said were cold medicine.
Green told the “Today” show in 2005 that she was “face down on the table” of a restaurant about 30 minutes after taking the pills. Cosby offered to take her home, she said. Once they were at Green’s apartment, he undressed her and assaulted her in her bed, she said.
Eventually, Green said, she started throwing things. Cosby left her apartment after leaving two $100 bills on her coffee table, according to Green.
She said in the Newsweek interview that she never reported the alleged assault to the police because for a victim, “it never works out, unless you’re bleeding and there’s DNA and an eyewitness. I was 19 and he was the king of the world. … Nobody would’ve believed me.”
Green told the news magazine that coming forward with the allegations essentially ended her career as a lawyer.
Bowman, another witness in Constand’s lawsuit, came forward in 2006 in interviews with Philadelphia news outlets. She later wrote a column in The Washington Post in light of Buress’ viral comedy video in which he called Cosby a rapist.
Bowman said she met Cosby in 1985 when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress. He became a father figure and mentor to her, she said.
She said Cosby drugged and raped her several times during the two years they knew each other. Bowman told The Daily Mail that he flew her all over the country and invited her to attend events with him to “see if I was worth mentoring and grooming” for an acting career.
Bowman said in the Daily Mail interview that Cosby brainwashed her and befriended her mother to gain her trust. He eventually started giving her drugs and raping her, Bowman alleged. She said she continued to see him because he was a useful mentor while she was trying to build a career in the entertainment industry.
Bowman said that one time, she had one glass of wine at Cosby’s house and then came to a while later slumped over a toilet throwing up while wearing a man’s T-shirt. She told The Daily Mail that Cosby was wearing a robe as he was helping her after she regained consciousness.
The last incident happened in Atlantic City, she said. She wrote in The Post that she fought him when he tried to pin her to his bed, and he called her a “baby” and sent her home.
Ferrier met Cosby in 1984 while she was working as a young model in New York, according to Philadelphia Magazine She was another unnamed witness in Constand’s lawsuit.
She came forward with her story in the Philadelphia Daily News in 2005 after the suit was filed but before it was settled.
Her relationship with Cosby started as a consensual affair, she told the Daily News. She said in 2005 that the affair lasted about six months, but she told People magazine in 2006 that it was an on-and-off affair that lasted several years. Ferrier said that at one point after they decided to end the affair, Cosby drugged and assaulted her when she went to see him perform in Denver.
Ferrier said Cosby gave her her “favorite coffee” to relax her. After she drank it, she said, she started to feel woozy. She woke up in the back seat of her car several hours later with her clothes disheveled, she said.
When she confronted him at his hotel later, he told her she had too much to drink, she said.
Ferrier told People magazine in 2006 that she had recently lost her father when she met Cosby and was “very vulnerable.” Cosby was a mentor and father figure to her, she said.
In 2014, Hollywood Elsewhere published the accusations of Tarshis, a former actress who says Cosby raped her in 1969. She decided to come forward after seeing renewed media attention on the Cosby allegations.
Tarshis was 19 when she flew to Los Angeles to work on a monologue, and friends she was staying with knew Cosby, she said. She said she met Cosby at a lunch and he took a liking to her.
Cosby asked Tarshis to work on some material with him one day, and he gave her a drink, she said. Tarshis says she vaguely remembers being undressed by Cosby and telling him that she had an infection so that he wouldn’t have sex with her. He still sexually assaulted her, she said.
Tarshis told Hollywood Elsewhere about one other incident that she alleges occurred in a hotel room when he invited her to an event. She said she went because she was too ashamed to tell her mother what had happened and turn down the invitation.
She never went to police with the allegations. Tarshis told Philadelphia Magazine: “What could I say? I was 19 years old. I felt, ‘He’s Bill Cosby. He’ll lawyer himself up. I don’t have a lawyer. It’s going to be he said, she said, and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy.’ … My reputation would have been ruined.”
Tarshis also said that at the time, no other women had come forward with similar accusations.
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Dickinson, a supermodel and TV personality, is so far the highest-profile woman to publicly come forward and accuse Cosby of sexual assault.
She told Entertainment Tonight in 2014 that Cosby assaulted her in 1982. Dickinson said she met Cosby at the request of her agent, who was trying to get her booked on “The Cosby Show.”
Dickinson later went to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. She said Cosby called her while she was there, and then after she got out, he invited her to visit him while he was performing in Lake Tahoe. He told her he wanted to offer her a job and help her develop a singing career, she said.
Dickinson said that after she had dinner with Cosby in Lake Tahoe, she had a glass of wine and a pill that Cosby gave her in her room.
She says the last thing she remembers before passing out was seeing Cosby take off his patchwork robe and get on top of her.
She told ET that she never went to the police because she “was afraid of being labeled a whore or a slut and trying to sleep my way to the top of a career that never took place.”
Dickinson had alluded to her issues with Cosby but hadn’t publicly accused him of sexual assault before 2014. She told ET that she wanted to write about her alleged assault in her 2002 autobiography but was pressured by Cosby and his lawyers to remove the details of the incident.
She said the alleged assault was one of the “biggest resentments” of her life.
Serignese, a nurse in Florida, came forward in 2014 and identified herself as another of the 13 witnesses in Constand’s suit. She said Cosby raped her four decades ago in Las Vegas.
Serignese told The Huffington Post that she met Cosby in 1976, when she was 19.
She was in Las Vegas visiting her mother, and Cosby was in town to perform at the Hilton, she said. She said she ran into him at the hotel’s gift shop while she was there with her sister looking at jewelry. He came up to her, put his arm around her, and invited her to come see his show later, she said.
Backstage after the show, Cosby gave Serignese two white pills, she said. She says the next thing she remembers is Cosby raping her in a bathroom.
She kept in touch with him intermittently throughout the next 20 years, she told The Huffington Post. There was one more sexual encounter in 1985, she said.
Serignese also said Cosby put her up in a Hilton penthouse for three weeks after the alleged rape in Las Vegas and then sent her money in 1996 after she got into a car accident.
She said she initially was reluctant to report the alleged assault because she thought no one would believe her, but she came forward after hearing about Constand’s allegations.
- Wikimedia Commons
In 2014, Beverly Johnson, the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue, came forward to accuse Bill Cosby of drugging her.
Writing in Vanity Fair, Johnson said Cosby drugged her in his home in the mid-1980s after she’d gone there to read lines for a part on “The Cosby Show.” She said Cosby gave her a cappuccino.
“I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged – and drugged good,” she said. “My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop.”
She said she began shouting at Cosby.
“I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step,” she said. “I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.”
She didn’t say Cosby raped her, but she accused him of physically assaulting her.
In 2015, a 24-year-old woman named Chloe Goins told the Los Angeles Police Department that Cosby had assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 18, according to CNN.
While few details of her case have been revealed, it’s notable because she alleges the assault took place in 2008. California has a 10-year statute of limitations on rape cases, meaning the case could lead to criminal charges, according to her attorney, Spencer Kuvin.
“She was drugged,” he told CNN. “She doesn’t know what happened. She blacked out and woke up finding Mr. Cosby over her as she was in a state of complete undress.”
Kuvin continued: “I don’t want to go into details about what he was doing, and I don’t believe any of these cameras can actually publish what he was doing.”
Lili Bernard and Sammie Mays
- REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
In 2015, the celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred held a press conference to announce two more women were accusing Cosby of assaulting them: Sammie Mays, a writer, and Lili Bernard, who guest-starred on “The Cosby Show.”
Mays said Cosby drugged her in the late ’80s when she was writing about a convention in New Orleans that Cosby attended, according to USA Today. She said she believes he raped her while she was unconscious.
Bernard says Cosby drugged, raped, and threatened her in the “Cosby Show” studio in 1992. She said she still has panic attacks.
“I stand here to take back my power and to confront the fear that has paralyzed me for so many years,” Bernard said during the press conference.
While Bernard tried to bring criminal charges against Cosby in New Jersey, a prosecutor decided not to file any.
Others who came forward
Angela Leslie, a former model and actress, said in a New York Daily News report published in November 2014 that Cosby assaulted her in a hotel room more than two decades ago. She said she met him in 1990 after she sent him a letter and photo hoping to land a role in his movie “Ghost Dad.”
Cosby then invited her to the set of his show, she said. She said the alleged assault happened in a hotel suite in 1992 when Cosby asked her to audition for him. Leslie said he gave her a drink and told her to act like she was intoxicated. She didn’t drink what Cosby gave her, but after she came out of the bathroom, Cosby was lying in bed with his clothes off, she said. Leslie said Cosby took her hand and forced her to fondle him while he was in bed.
Carla Ferrigno, who is married to the actor Lou Ferrigno, has said Cosby made an unwanted sexual advance at a party in 1967, when she was a teenager. She was working as a Playboy bunny in Los Angeles when she was invited to Cosby’s house, she said. She said that at one point in the evening she was alone with Cosby playing pool. He then forcefully grabbed her and kissed her, she said.
“I had never been treated so roughly, and he pulled me hard to him so hard. And then kissed me so hard, right in the mouth,” she said. “No one has ever been that physically violent with me. I was stunned. I was frozen. I took all my body strength and used both of my arms to stop him and push him away from me. He was so forceful.”
Kristina Ruehli, a New Hampshire woman who says she was one of the unnamed witnesses in Constand’s suit, told Philadelphia Magazine that Cosby drugged and tried to sexually assault her in 1965, when she was 22. She said she met Cosby while she was working as a secretary at a talent agency in Beverly Hills.
He invited her to a party at his home one night, but when she arrived, no one else was there, she said. Cosby gave her two drinks, and after that everything became “foggy,” she said. She said she eventually wound up in one of the bedrooms in the house. Cosby then tried to force Ruehli to perform oral sex on him, she said. She said she pushed him away, ran into a bathroom, and started throwing up. When she came out of the bathroom, Cosby was gone, and she left his house, she said.
Renita Chaney Hill of Pittsburgh told KDKA News that she had a 4-year relationship with Cosby in the 1980s. She says she believes he drugged and likely raped her when she would go visit him. She was 15 when she met him. Hill told KDKA that Cosby would fly her to various cities and she would visit him at his hotel room at night. He would insist that she drink even though he knew she was underage, she said.
Hill said she would wake up the next day and not remember anything, despite not having that much to drink. She said that during one incident, right before she passed out, she remembered him kissing and touching her.
Linda Traitz, who met Cosby in 1969 when she was waiting tables at a restaurant he owned in West Hollywood, accused Cosby of sexual assault in an interview with The Washington Post. She said Cosby chatted her up one day at the restaurant and offered her a ride home.
But instead of going home, Cosby drove to the beach and took out a briefcase that had “assorted sections in it, with pills and tablets in it, different colors arranged and assorted into compartments,” she told The Post.
She said she told Cosby that she didn’t want any of the pills but that he kept insisting. He then lunged at her and grabbed her chest, she said. When she ran out of the car and onto the beach, he pursued her and offered to take her home, she said.
Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy bunny, told The Post she met Cosby in 1970. Another Playboy bunny knew Cosby and introduced him to Valentino, who met him for dinner with a friend one night after their initial meeting, she said. Cosby offered Valentino and her friend red pills at the end of dinner, she said. She said she then began slurring her words and “couldn’t function.”
Cosby then drove the pair to an apartment under the pretense of showing them memorabilia from his popular “I Spy” show, she said. It was there that she said he assaulted her. She said she never went to the police because “in those days, it was always the rape victim who wound up being victimized.”
Judy Huth filed a lawsuit in December 2014 accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15.
Helen Gumpel, who appeared on one episode of “The Cosby Show,” came forward in 2015 and said Cosby made unwanted sexual advances toward her in 1977, according to the AP.
Sunni Welles and Margie Shapiro said in 2015 that Cosby sexually assaulted them in the ’60s and ’70s, when they were teenagers, according to Reuters.
Autumn Burns, Marcella Tate, and Janice Baker-Kinney, who are all represented by Allred, said in 2015 that Cosby raped them in the ’70s and early ’80s.
“All this time, and for many, many years, I felt this was my fault,” Kinney told USA Today. “I took the pills from him. … I never thought of it as rape. … I still felt like I was solely to blame.”
Erin Fuchs contributed to this report.