The Backstory Behind The Shocking Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

Bill CosbyAPBill Cosby in Nov. 2014 during a news conference about an art exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington.

Sexual assault allegations against famed comedian Bill Cosby resurfaced this month after another comedian targeted Cosby during a taped set that went viral.

Over the weekend, his attorney said that Cosby, now 77, “does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

The accusations have common threads, painting a picture of a man who allegedly uses 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 were discouraged from going public because of Cosby’s fame, power, and reputation as “America’s dad.”

While Cosby has never been criminally charged with sexual assault, these accusations have hurt his career. Netflix has indefinitely delayed the release of a Cosby stand-up special, NBC stopped development on a new sitcom starring Cosby, and TV Land is going to stop airing re-runs of “The Cosby Show.”

Cosby refused to address the allegations when asked about them in an NPR interview last week, but the story doesn’t seem to be going away. Accusers are still coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse that span decades.

Here’s an overview of who has publicly accused him so far:

Andrea Constand

Constand alleges that Cosby sexually assaulted her in his Montgomery County, Pennsylvania home in 2004.

She went to police with the allegations, but the district attorney ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Cosby. The district attorney on the case told the Daily Mail this week that at the time, he thought Cosby was probably guilty and he wanted to arrest him, but he didn’t have sufficient proof of the alleged assault.

There wasn’t any physical evidence for the case because Constand waited a year before going to police.

Constand is the only woman who has ever pressed charges against Cosby, according to the Daily Mail. After police declined to charge him, she filed a civil suit and lined up 13 other women as supporting witnesses who had stories about Cosby similar to hers. She settled the lawsuit in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.

Constand, now 41, 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 for dinners at his house, she told the Daily Mail.

She claimed in court documents that in 2004, she went to Cosby’s house for a visit at his request. He reportedly told her that he wanted to help her pursue a new career. When Constand talked about being stressed, he allegedly gave her three blue pills that he said were an “herbal medication” to help her relax.

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 was allegedly so impaired that 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 allegedly sexually assaulted her. Constand claimed she was barely conscious throughout the attack.

Constand woke up at about 4 a.m. with her clothes and underwear in disarray, according to the lawsuit. Cosby allegedly greeted her in his bathrobe before she left his house.

Tamara Green

Green, a lawyer who lives in California, was the only named supporting witness in Constand’s suit.

When Green heard 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 claimed Cosby assaulted her in the 1970s. Green told Newsweek she met Cosby through a friend when she was 19 years old and modelling in Los Angeles.

Green said she met Cosby for a business lunch one day while she had the flu. He allegedly gave her pills he said were cold medicine.

Green told the “Today” show in 2005 she was “face down on the table of the restaurant” about 30 minutes after taking the pills. Cosby allegedly offered to take her home. Once they were at Green’s apartment, he allegedly undressed her and assaulted her in her bed.

Eventually, Green said, she started throwing things. Cosby left her apartment after leaving two $US100 bills on her coffee table, according to Green.

She never reported the alleged assault to the police because, as she said in the Newsweek interview, “it never works out [for the victim], unless you’re bleeding and there’s DNA and an eyewitness. I was 19 and he was the king of the world … Nobody would have believed me.”

Green told the news magazine in February that coming forward with the allegations essentially ended her career as a lawyer.

Barbara Bowman

Bowman, another witness in Constand’s lawsuit, came forward and identified herself in 2006 in interviews with Philadelphia news outlets. She more recently wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in light of the viral comedy video that called Cosby a rapist.

Bowman, now 47, 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 claimed 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 [she] was worth mentoring and grooming” for an acting career.

Bowman said in the Daily Mail interview that Cosby brainwashed her and befriended her mother in order 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.

One time, Bowman said, Cosby 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 he 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 op-ed that she fought him when he tried to pin her to his bed, and he called her a “baby” and sent her home.

Beth Ferrier

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 the Constand 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 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 claimed 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.

Cosby allegedly gave Ferrier her “favourite coffee” that he made to relax her. After she drank it, she said, she started to feel woozy. She allegedly woke up in the back seat of her car several hours later with her clothes disheveled.

When she confronted him at his hotel later, he allegedly told her she had too much to drink.

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.

Joan Tarshis

Earlier this month, Hollywood Elsewhere published accusations from Tarshis, a former actress who said 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. Friends she was staying with reportedly knew Cosby. She said she met Cosby at a lunch and he took a liking to her.

Cosby allegedly asked Tarshis to work on some material with him one day, and he gave her a drink. Tarshis claimed that she vaguely remembers being undressed by Cosby and telling him she had an infection so that he wouldn’t have sex with her. He allegedly still sexually assaulted her.

Tarshis told Hollywood Elsewhere about one other incident that allegedly 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 earlier this week: “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 will look at me like I’m crazy.’ … My reputation would have been ruined.”

Tarshis also pointed out that at the time the assault allegedly happened, no other women had come forward with similar accusations.

Janice Dickinson

Dickinson, a supermodel and TV personality, is the most recent woman to publicly come forward and accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

She told Entertainment Tonight earlier this week that the alleged assault happened in 1982. Dickinson, now 59, said she met Cosby at the request of her agent, who was trying to get her booked on “The Cosby Show.”

Dickinson later landed in 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 Lake Tahoe. He allegedly told her he wanted to offer her a job and help her develop a singing career.

Dickinson claimed 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 said the last thing she remembers before she passed out was seeing Cosby take off his patchwork robe and get on top of her.

She told ET that she never went to police about the alleged assault because she was “embarrassed and ashamed” and “was afraid of being labelled a whore or a slut and trying to sleep my way to the top of a career that never took place.”

Dickinson has previously alluded to her issues with Cosby, but hadn’t publicly accused him of sexual assault before this week. She told ET that she wanted to write about the 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 is one of the “biggest resentments” of her life.

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