The shocking backstory behind the Bill Cosby rape allegations

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial started Monday. The 79-year-old actor and comedian is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault for an alleged incident involving a former Temple University employee.

That employee, Andrea Constand, said that Cosby gave her quaaludes in order to sexually assault her more than a decade ago.

She is one of dozens of women who have claimed that they were drugged and assaulted by the comedian.

Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby years ago, and later a damning deposition from that suit was made public.

In that deposition from 2005, Cosby answered “yes” to the following question:

“When you got the Quaaludes [a type of sedative] was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”

Bill CosbyAfter Constand filed her lawsuit that produced the deposition, she claimed that she could produce more than a dozen other women with similar stories. But that suit was settled in 2006, and Cosby’s wholesome reputation remained intact — until a few years ago.

That’s when another comedian, Hannibal Buress, suggested that Cosby was a hypocrite for telling African-Americans how to behave.

“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,” Buress said, sarcastically. He continued, imitating Cosby, “I don’t curse on stage.”

“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 come forward to accuse him of rape.

phylicia rushed bill cosby

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

Even before Cosby was criminally charged, these accusations hurt his career. Cosby’s agency, Creative Artists Agency, quietly dumped him in late 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 more high-profile women who have made allegations against Cosby, starting with the one whose case resulted in criminal charges.

Andrea Constand

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 a previous district attorney ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Cosby. The district attorney on the case told the Daily Mail 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.

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 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 that 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 alleged 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

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

When Green heard that the district attorney thought that 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 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. He allegedly gave her pills he said were cold medicine.

Green told the “Today” show in 2005 that 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 $100 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’ve believed me.”

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

Barbara Bowman

Barbara Bowman

Bowman, another witness in Constand’s lawsuit, came forward and identified herself in 2006 in interviews with Philadelphia news outlets. She later wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in light of the viral comedy video that 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 claimed that 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 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, 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 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 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 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 “favorite 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

Joan Tarshis

In 2014, 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 years old 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 reportedly 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 that 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: “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 pointed out that at the time the assault allegedly happened, no other women had come forward with similar accusations.

Janice Dickinson

Janice Dickinson

Dickinson, a supermodel and TV personality, is so far the most high-profile woman to publicly come forward and accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

She told Entertainment Tonight in 2014 that the alleged assault happened 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 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 in 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 the police about the alleged assault because she was “embarrassed and ashamed” and “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 has previously 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 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.

Therese Serignese

Therese Serignese

Serignese, a nurse in Florida, came forward last year and identified herself as another of the 13 witnesses in Constand’s suit. She claimed that Cosby raped her four decades ago in Las Vegas.

Serignese told The Huffington Post that she met Cosby in 1976 when she was 19 years old.

She was in Las Vegas visiting her mother and Cosby was in town to perform at the Hilton, she told WPTV News. She said she ran into him at the hotel’s gift shop while she was there with her sister looking at jewelry. He reportedly came up to her, put his arm around her, and invited her to come see his show later.

Backstage after the show, Cosby allegedly gave Serignese two white pills. She said 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 HuffPo. There was reportedly one more sexual encounter in 1985.

Serignese also alleges that 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 was initially reluctant to report the alleged assault because she thought no one would believe her, but she eventually came forward after hearing about Constand’s allegations.

Beverly Johnson

Beverly JohnsonIn 2014, another high-profile woman came out to accuse Bill Cosby of drugging her: Beverly Johnson, the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue.

Writing in Vanity Fair, Johnson said that Cosby drugged her in his home in the mid-’80s when she’d gone there to read lines for a part on “The Cosby Show.” Here’s what she said happened when 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 … My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop.”

She said she began shouting at Cosby, prompting this response:

“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. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.”

While she didn’t allege that Cosby raped her, she did allege that Cosby physically assaulted her.

Chloe Goins

Chloe Goins Cosby accuser

In 2015, a 25-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 the alleged 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 lawyer, Spencer Kuvin.

“She was drugged. 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,” he said, according to CNN.

“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,” Kuvin told reporters.

Lili Bernard and Sammie Mays

Gloria Allred

In 2015, celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred held a press conference to announce that two more women were accusing Cosby of assaulting them: writer Sammie Mays and Lili Bernard, who guest-starred on “The Cosby Show.”

Mays claimed 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 believes he raped her while she was unconscious.

Bernard says Cosby drugged, raped, and threatened her in the studio of the “Cosby Show” 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 reportedly said during the press conference with Allred.

While Bernard tried to have criminal charges against Cosby filed in New Jersey, a prosecutor there ultimately decided not to file any.

Others who came forward

Angela Leslie, a form


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s