NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - The woman whose accusation brought Bill Cosby to trial in Pennsylvania on sex-assault charges testified on Friday that the comedian drugged and raped her in 2004 and she was terrified to tell anyone for months afterward.
It was the second time that accuser Andrea Constand, 45, confronted the 80-year-old entertainer in the suburban Philadelphia courtroom. Cosby stood trial last year on the charges, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Constand is one of about 50 women who have accused the man known as the wise patriarch in the TV hit “The Cosby Show” of sexually assaulting them in attacks dating back decades. Hers is the only one recent enough to be the subject of criminal prosecution.
Constand, who worked at Cosby’s alma mater Temple University at the time of the alleged attack, said she went to Cosby’s house to discuss a potential career change. Cosby gave her three blue pills that he said would relax her.
She testified that the pills made her feel woozy. Cosby walked her to a sofa and laid her down.
“The next thing I recall, I was kind of jolted awake,” Constand said. “My vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully. I felt my breasts being touched. He put my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand. I was not able to do a thing.”
Cosby has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said that any sexual encounters he had were consensual. His lawyers have portrayed Constand as a gold-digging con artist.
Constand testified that she did not tell anyone of the attack until January 2005, about a year after she has said it occurred, because she feared coming forward. She ultimately confided in her mother.
“I was scared,” Constand said. “I was all over the place in my mind. I didn’t know where to turn.”
She said she told her mother, “Mr. Cosby sexually violated me... Gave me three blue pills and sexually violated me without my consent.”
With Constand living in her native Canada by this time, they went to the Durham Regional Police in Ontario and later told her brother-in-law, a Toronto police detective.
Constand said her mother spoke with Cosby by phone, and he confessed and apologised. That phone call was not recorded.
Constand testified she was deeply disappointed when then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor declined to criminally charge Cosby after she complained to authorities in 2005.
She responded by filing a civil suit against Cosby that resulted in a $3,380,000 settlement. She also signed a confidentiality agreement in which she agreed not to again initiate criminal charges against the comedian.
To work around that agreement, newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele initiated the charges in 2015, sending a team of prosecutors to Canada to ask Constand if she would cooperate with the decision to prosecute.
Constand’s testimony largely repeated points she made in Cosby’s first trial last year. This trial is different in that five other women who accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them have also testified.
This trial follows the rise of the #MeToo movement in which women have come forth to accuse prominent men in politics, business and entertainment of sexual harassment and assault dating back years.
Cosby could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Osterman