true crime

Bill Cosby to stand trial for sexual assault.

Award winning TV star and comedian Bill Cosby  has been ordered by a US judge to stand trial on charges of sexual assault.

Cosby, who is the subject of dozens of accusations from women who say he sexually assaulted them, is accused of drugging and molesting a former Temple University employee in his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Mr Cosby has maintained that all of the encounters were consensual.

More than 60 women have come forward saying Cosby had sexually assaulted them (but in nearly all of the cases too much time has elapsed for charges to be pursued).

There was relief when Magistrate Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled that this one case should proceed, following a preliminary hearing.

Cosby faces three counts of sexual assault.

Police read a statement from Andrea Constand, who now lives in Toronto and was not in court.

Constand, then a basketball coach at the university, saw Cosby – a former student at the same university – as something of a mentor.

In her statement she said: “I told him, ‘I can’t talk, Mr Cosby’. I started to panic.”

Ms Constand told police that in 2005 Mr Cosby allegedly sexually violated her after giving her three blue pills.

The pills made her dizzy and made her legs “like jelly”.

Mr Cosby said she never told him to stop during the encounter.

The judge has ruled that she will not have to testify.

In 2005 Cosby gave a written declamation, in which he explained his version of the events.

“Andrea came to the house. We talked about Temple University. We talked about her position. And then I went upstairs and I got three pills… because she was talking about stress,” he said.

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“We sat for 15 or 20 minutes talking. I then said, ‘Let’s go into the living room.’ I asked her to have a sit down on the sofa. We were still talking. But then we began to neck and we began to touch and we began to feel and kiss and kiss back.”

Cosby described the “digital penetration” that followed as something of a favour, to help her unwind.

“I was hoping (it) had been a sort of a contribution to happiness, friendship, a moment that we shared,” Cosby said.

Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille. Via Getty.

Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to accuse Cosby of sexual impropriety dating back to the 1960s, but this is the only case that has gone to court.

It is the only one that falls within the statute of limitations for charges.

In March, a judge ruled former supermodel Janice Dickinson can pursue a civil sexual assault case against him, but this will not result in criminal charges.

Cosby is best known for his role as the father in the television hit The Cosby Show which ran from 1984 to 1992. Via Facebook.

In court Cosby said "thank you" to the judge after she announced her decision.

His lawyer later released a statement saying the "complainant communicated with, returned to the home of, had dinner with and gave gifts to Mr Cosby after the alleged assault occurred."

Cosby is best known for his role as the father in the television hit The Cosby Show which ran from 1984 to 1992 and was a huge hit in the US and around the globe.

It made the comedian one of America's most popular entertainers.

The 78-year-old, once the highest paid US television star, could go to prison for 10 years if convicted.

Cosby has been free on $1 million bail since he was arrested on December 30.

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