Bill Cosby, a well-known actor and comedian, has recently been the defendant in a sexual assault trial taking place in a Pennsylvania courtroom. His accuser, a woman whom Cosby befriended at Temple University over ten years ago, told her story to the jury last Tuesday. Cosby did not take the stand as a witness, but the prosecution introduced his testimony from a 2005 civil deposition. After five days, the prosecution has rested and the defense begins its case this week.
This criminal case comes more than a decade after a civil case involving the same accusations that Cosby drugged and sexually molested the former Temple University employee. At trial last week, she testified that she went to Cosby’s house under the presumption that they would talk about her career. Upon noticing that she was tense, Cosby offered her some pills to help calm her down. She then began to feel negative effects from the medication and only remembers being awakened some time later when she felt Cosby groping her inappropriately. She said she was paralyzed by the medication and, though she wanted to, was unable to stop him.
Cosby admits to making advances, but says that any sexual encounters the two shared were consensual and did not constitute sexual assault or sexual exploitation. He recounts numerous situations in which his accuser willingly engaged in sexual activity with him and he denies that she was ever unconscious or paralyzed by medication. The defense noted that although she claimed to have had no contact with him after the incident, records show that there were many phone calls between them, most of which were initiated by Cosby’s accuser.
The mere accusation of sex crimes carries a stigma and puts the accused on trial in the court of public opinion. This is especially so for celebrities who are in the spotlight with all the private details of their cases exposed to the public. The Cosby trial is still underway; by not allowing cameras in the courtroom the judge has, thus far, managed to mitigate the media frenzy that often surrounds celebrity trials.
Source: USA Today, Bill Cosby trial Day 2: Andrea Constand tells jury what she says he did to her, Karl Baker, June 6, 2017