Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman at his Pennsylvania home more than a decade after she told police he drugged and violated her after she had previously refused his advances.
This is the first time Cosby, 78, will face a criminal charge over his conduct with women after a slew of allegations against the comedian have surfaced in recent years.
Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault, a felony, said Kevin Steele, Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney, and incoming DA.
The charge reverses a 2005 decision made by the previous District Attorney to not charge Cosby.
"Reopening this case was not a question, rather it was our duty," Steele said during a press conference.
New evidence that justified reopening the case came to light in July, when a deposition given by Cosby was made public, Steele said.
In 2004, the victim, a former Temple University employee, was allegedly invited to Cosby's home outside Philadelphia, where he "urged her to take pills and drink wine," Steele said. The woman had previously rejected Cosby's sexual advances, the prosecutor said.
"There are a number of aspects that are undisputed," Steele said, noting that “there were specific questions of using Quaaludes,” in the deposition.
The effects of the substances given to the victim left her "unable to move" and Cosby then "committed aggravated sexual advances," Steele said.
"A person in that state cannot give consent," he continued.
The woman "has indicated she would be willing to cooperate with us going forward," he said.
Cosby is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon and is required to appear in person.
Cosby's attorney reportedly declined to comment on the charge before the D.A.'s announcement. The comedian previously said under oath that he had consensual sexual contact with the woman.
The woman who accused Cosby of the attack praised the prosecutor for filing a charge against the comedian, the woman's attorney reportedly said.
Dolores Troiani said her client appreciates the consideration and courtesy that investigators have shown in the reopened case, the Associated Press reported.
Troiani said she and her client "have the utmost confidence" in the law enforcement team now handling the case, AP wrote. The attorney said she otherwise will not comment on the criminal case.
More than 50 women have accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting them, but he cannot be charged in most of those instances because the statute of limitations has run out. The statute of limitations for the alleged 2004 attack runs out in a month.