Bill Cosby, the “Cosby Show” star and veteran entertainer who was once awarded the highest civilian award in the United States, is facing a sexual assault charge.
The 78-year-old comedian was charged with aggravated indecent assault, a felony, Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. The charges stem from an alleged 2004 encounter with a former Temple University employee in Cosby’s home, District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said.
“On the evening in question, Mr. Cosby urged her to take pills that he provided to her and to drink wine, the effect of which rendered her unable to move, respond to his advances, and he committed aggravated indecent assault upon her,” Steele said at a news conference.
Bill Cosby's mug shot pic.twitter.com/48GLovInLB— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) December 30, 2015
Cosby arrived in court Wednesday afternoon, where his bail was set at $1 million.
Before the allegations came to light, Cosby was a frequent recipient of some of the most coveted honors presented in Washington.
In 2002, the television legend was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President George W. Bush. A former White House aide told ITK last year that it was “unlikely” the award would be rescinded. Earlier this year, a sexual assault prevention group called on President Obama to revoke Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.
Obama said at a June news conference that there was no way to rescind the medal but added, not mentioning Cosby specifically, “I’ll say this. If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without their consent, that’s rape.”
Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMeet Trump’s ‘mad dog’ for the Pentagon McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Dem senator comes out against waiver for Mattis to be Defense head MORE (N.Y.) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Defense bill tackles retaliation against military sex assault victims Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks MORE (Mo.) have backed a petition calling on officials to strip Cosby of the award.
“She supports this group’s effort because we need to set a clear example that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this country, and someone who admitted to using drugs for sex no longer deserves the nation’s highest honor,” a Gillibrand spokesman told Politico in July.
Cosby was among the performers celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and also received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in 2009. He was named a Library of Congress Living Legend in 2000.