Wednesday 26 July 2017

I was frozen after Cosby drugged me: accuser

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby. Photo: Reuters
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby. Photo: Reuters

Maryclaire Dale in Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby's chief accuser took the stand at his sexual assault trial to tell her story publicly for the first time, saying the comedian groped her after giving her three blue pills that left her paralysed and helpless.

"In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen," Andrea Constand, a 44-year-old former employee of Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, said in their long-awaited courtroom confrontation. "I wasn't able to fight in any way." She added: "I wanted it to stop."

Mr Cosby (79) is charged with drugging and violating Ms Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The TV star once dubbed America's Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Ms Constand, an athletic six-footer with dark curly hair, could face a bruising cross-examination from Mr Cosby's lawyers, who have argued that the two had a romantic relationship, that she wasn't incapacitated and that the sexual encounter was consensual.

She was calm and collected as she testified, looking at the jury as she began describing the assault.

She said Mr Cosby gave her pills he claimed were a natural remedy to ease her stress about a looming career change. "They're your friends. They'll take the edge off," she quoted him as saying.

She told the jury she started feeling woozy after about 20 minutes, with blurred vision, slurred words and legs that felt like rubber. Mr Cosby then penetrated her with his finger and also placed her hand on his penis and moved it back and forth, she said. She said she was unable to push him away or tell him to stop.

Afterward, Ms Constand said: "I felt really humiliated and I felt really confused."

Before yesterday, Ms Constand had never spoken about Mr Cosby in public, barred from doing so under the terms of a confidential settlement they reached in 2006.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Mr Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his image, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Ms Constand's case is the only one in which Mr Cosby has been charged.

Ms Constand, who is from the Toronto area, met Cosby while working for the women's basketball team at Temple, and she said they became friends over conversations about the team and later her career.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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