31 Dec 2015

Cosby arraigned on sexual assault charges

8:58 am on 31 December 2015

Bill Cosby has been arraigned on charges related to alleged 2004 indecent assault in Pennsylvania.

The judge has set bail at $US1 million.

Cosby, 78, has been charged with aggravated indecent assault over an alleged incident in 2004 involving a former local university employee.

He has previously said under oath he had a consensual sexual encounter with the woman.

The case was re-opened after dozens of women alleged assault from Cosby, dating back to the 1960s.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby Photo: AFP

Andrea Constand, who was an employee at Temple University at the time of the alleged assault, sued Cosby in 2005 and settled for an undisclosed sum after no charges were brought.

She has said she was tricked into taking drugs before being sexually assaulted by Cosby.

Documents from the case were sealed until this summer.

Testimony from the lawsuits include Cosby admitting he gave women a sedative, Quaalude, when he wanted to have sex with them.

He will appear in court in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon to be formally charged.

Cosby befriended Ms Constand through her job at the university and she came to think of him as "a mentor and a friend" before he allegedly made two sexual advances that were rejected, said prosecutors.

He then urged her to take pills and drink wine at his home, rendering her unable to move to respond to him, according to Kevin Steele, district attorney for Montgomery County nearby Philadelphia.

Mr Steele said prosecutors re-visited the case after new evidence emerged, with the statue of limitations not expired yet.

The prosecutors re-interviewed witnesses, examined evidence from the civil case and spoke to other alleged victims before they decided to file criminal charges.