UPDATE: 10:45 a.m. EST — Attorneys for Andrea Constand, the woman who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2004, reacted Wednesday to the news that Cosby would be charged in the case.
“On behalf of our client, Andrea Constand we wish to express our appreciation to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, the county detectives and the Cheltenham Police Department for the consideration and courtesy they have shown Andrea during this difficult time. We have the utmost confidence in Mr. [incoming District Attorney Kevin] Steele, Ms. [Assistant District Attorney Kristen] Feden and their team, who have impressed us with their professionalism. In that this matter is now being pursued in the criminal justice system, we will not comment further," Constand's legal team said in a statement.
Authorities in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, charged Cosby Wednesday with drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Constand at his home in Elkins Park, a Philadelphia suburb, in 2004. This marks the first time the entertainer has been officially charged with sexual assault as more than 50 women have accused him of drugging or assaulting them over the past year.
Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault, a felony charge, the Montgomery County district attorney said. The charge reverses a decision made by a previous district attorney, who did not charge Cosby in 2005.
The case was reopened once prosecutors realized the statute of limitations — which runs 12 years for these crimes in Pennsylvania — had not closed, and new evidence was revealed in Constand's related civil case.
“Upon examination of all of the evidence, today we are able to seek justice on behalf of Mr. Cosby's victim,” said first assistant district attorney, and incoming DA, Kevin Steele.
Before the DA's press conference, People reported Wednesday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Cosby in the case. The 78-year-old comedian previously said under oath that he had consensual sexual relations with Constand. He has vehemently denied the allegations she has made against him as well as those made by other women.
Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman said Cosby would be arraigned in Elkins Park later Wednesday and must appear in person.
One of Constand’s attorneys expressed gratitude for the decision Wednesday.
“Obviously we appreciate the expression of confidence in her,” Dolores Troiani said about her client, People reported. “We'll have to see what happens. We hope justice will be done. We will cooperate fully.”
Constand, who is now a massage therapist in Ontario, Canada, filed a defamation suit earlier this fall against former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., the prosecutor who decided not to press charges against Cosby in 2005. Cosby has filed defamation suits against several of the women who have accused him of sexually assaulting him and continues to maintain his innocence.