Bill Cosby Controversy: A Decade in the Making | NBC New York

Bill Cosby Controversy: A Decade in the Making

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    A 2005 deposition obtained by the Associated Press has revealed actor/comedian Bill Cosby admitted to obtaining quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. (Published Wednesday, July 8, 2015)

    The sexual assault allegations that resurfaced against Bill Cosby first became public in 2005 after an accuser claimed he had drugged and abused her a year earlier at his suburban Philadelphia home. Testimony in that case was unsealed Monday after court action by The Associated Press. Here's how the controversy over the allegations, some dating to the 1960s, has unfolded:

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    The accuser tells police in her native Ontario on Jan. 13, 2005, that Cosby assaulted her a year earlier at his mansion in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. She said he invited her home after a restaurant dinner, gave her pills for stress and tension, then helped her to a sofa when she became dizzy and sick. She recalled him touching her breast and placing her hand on his penis, and said she awoke with her clothing in disarray and bra undone. She said she drove herself home and decided not to report to police what happened due to Cosby's fame and her career. Instead, she said she contacted a lawyer who deals with sexual assaults.

    Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. decides after a monthlong investigation that there's not enough "credible and admissible evidence," a year after the alleged crime, to prove any charges. Castor adds that he won't divulge details to avoid tainting a possible civil action by thw accuser, and says "Much exists in this investigation that could be used to portray persons on both sides of the issue in a less than flattering light."

    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Cosby's lawyer says the comedian "looks forward to moving on with his life," and Cosby makes his only published comments to date about these allegations, telling the National Enquirer that "I am not going to give in to people who try to exploit me because of my celebrity status."

    The accuser then sues Cosby alleging battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress, defamation and invasion of privacy. She makes the same allegations cited in the summary of her complaint to Canadian police, but also alleges that he "digitally penetrated her." Her suit eventually names nine women as witnesses who would testify about prior sexual assaults.

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    Tamara Green appears on NBC's "Today" show on Feb. 10, 2005, saying that the accuser's allegation about being drugged and assaulted compelled her to speak publicly about an encounter she said she had with Cosby in the 1970s. She says Cosby groped and fondled her at her Los Angeles apartment after immobilizing her with what he said was cold medicine. Cosby's lawyer calls the allegations "absolutely false," and says Cosby did not even recognize her name.

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    Another, identified as Jane Doe No. 5, goes public on June 23, 2005, alleging that as a model in New York in 1984, she met Cosby and they had a brief affair. She claims Cosby drugged her coffee during an encounter in Denver and she woke up hours later in the backseat of her car with her clothes disheveled.

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    Janice Dickinson, in a June 6, 2006, radio interview with Howard Stern, describes Cosby as a "bad guy" and says he "preys on women." She says her publishing company forced her to downplay passages in a 2002 memoir about an alleged encounter the model and comedian had 20 years earlier. The book says Cosby was upset when she declined to go to his hotel room, saying "After all I've done for you, that's what I get?"

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    Another is named in a June 9, 2006, Philadelphia magazine report as one of the Jane Does giving depositions or statements in support of the accuser's lawsuit. The accuser and Cosby settle their claims out of court for an undisclosed sum that November, but it doesn't stop People magazine from publishing a detailed account of the Jane Doe's allegations a month later. The Jane Doe tells People that Cosby won her trust as an 18-year-old aspiring actress in 1985 and drugged and assaulted her multiple times in Reno, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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    Eight years pass.

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    In January 2014, The New York Times publishes an open letter by Dylan Farrow accusing another celebrity — her stepfather, Woody Allen — of abusing her as a child. Newsweek magazine follows in February, reviving the allegations from the one-time "Jane Does," publishing interviews in February with two of the accusers.

    Comedian Hannibal Buress makes "you rape women, Bill Cosby" a laugh line in his standup routine. Cosby's planned return to television begins to implode.

    A Jane Doe then writes in The Washington Post that "Cosby had drugged and raped me, too." Her Nov. 13 essay questions why it took a male comedian's comments to create the public outcry.

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    Another comes forward on Nov. 16, 2014, alleging that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1969, when she was 19. She says Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him during one encounter, and then drugged and raped her in another. Cosby's lawyer issues a blanket denial of "decade-old, discredited allegations," stating that "the fact that they are being repeated does not make them true." The next day, Cosby's lawyer clarifies that his statement does not apply to the original accuser.

    Dickinson then reappears, telling "Entertainment Tonight" on Nov. 18 that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982. She says Cosby gave her red wine and a pill in a Lake Tahoe, California, hotel room. Dickinson says she wrote about the alleged assault in a draft of her 2002 autobiography, "No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel," but that Cosby and his lawyers pressured her and the publisher to remove the claim.

    Netflix indefinitely postpones the Nov. 27, 2014, premiere of a Cosby comedy special, "Bill Cosby 77." NBC then scraps a Cosby comedy series under development, and TV Land stops airing reruns of "The Cosby Show."

    Castor — the prosecutor who decided not to bring charges in 2005 — reveals that Cosby had been evasive during his investigation. "I think when he said that he didn't do anything improper or illegal, I thought then he was lying and I still do," he tells The Associated Press. But Castor says there was not enough evidence to prove anything.

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    Another named in documents as a "Jane Doe," comes forward as Cosby's 7th named accuser, alleging that he drugged and assaulted her in 1976, when she was 19. The same day, Nov. 20, 2014, the AP releases video from a Nov. 6 interview with Cosby and his wife, Camille, when they were being asked about their decision to loan paintings and other artworks to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. When asked about the sex allegations resurfacing, Cosby refuses to discuss them. Later, with a microphone still attached and the camera rolling, he questions the news organization's integrity for raising the issue and says, "I would appreciate if it was scuttled."

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    Another becomes the first woman to go public with a claim Cosby abused her when she was underage, filing a lawsuit Dec. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging the comedian forced her to perform a sex act in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. On Dec. 4, Cosby's attorney Martin D. Singer responds in a court filing, writing the lawsuit followed a failed attempt by the Jane Doe a decade ago to sell a story about the comedian to a tabloid and try to extort money in exchange for her silence. Los Angeles police detectives meet with the Jane Doe for 90 minutes to discuss the allegations, and 10 days later on Dec. 16, Los Angeles prosecutors decline to file charges against Cosby.

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    Another, a model, meets with Los Angeles police Jan. 14 to discuss her claims Cosby drugged and sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion in August 2008. She is the first woman accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct whose case may fall within the statute of limitations. In a Jan. 16 statement, Cosby's attorney Martin D. Singer writes Cosby was in New York the night the Jane Doe claims he was at the Playboy Mansion.

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    Another, a former fashion model and actress, who appeared on one episode of "The Cosby Show" in 1988, holds a Feb. 8 news conference at a Boston hotel, alleging Cosby made sexual advances and lewd gestures toward her while she was on the set of the show.

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    Another, in an interview with The Associated Press published March 10, says that as an aspiring actress and model in the late 1980s, she fended off unwanted sexual advances from Cosby, and that Cosby once gave her $700 after she performed a sex act on the comedian. Her parents say they met with Cosby when their daughter was 17, and that he promised to help their daughter, reassuring them she would be fine living in an apartment with other models as she launched her career.

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    Another, a former model, asks Nevada lawmakers on March 13 to remove the state's statute of limitations on sexual assault, saying she passed out in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1989 after Cosby gave her two alcoholic drinks. She says she remembers Cosby stroking her hair, and then she woke up at home. After hearing similar allegations from other women, she concluded something happened to her while unconscious. She says she filed a police report in January, but was told Cosby couldn't be charged because too much time had passed. On May 26, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs a bill extending the state's reporting deadline for sex assaults from four years to 20 years after the date of the alleged crime.

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    In summer 2015, Cosby fights efforts by The Associated Press to unseal his deposition in the lawsuit brought by the original accuser a decade earlier, with his lawyer saying it would reveal details of the comedian's marriage, sex life and prescription drug use and would "be terribly embarrassing." On Monday, a judge releases the documents, revealing that Cosby admitted in 2005 that he got quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and that he gave the sedative to at least one woman and "other people." He also said that he had given the accuser three half-pills of Benadryl but did not admit to giving her quaaludes. Lawyers for some of the women making accusations express hope that the revelations will help other cases.