Saturday 16 December 2017

Woman says she rejected advances by actor Cosby

Bill Cosby arrives at court with actress Sheila Frazier. Photo: Reuters
Bill Cosby arrives at court with actress Sheila Frazier. Photo: Reuters

Maryclaire Dale in Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby's chief accuser said she shot down the actor's casual advances twice before she found herself paralysed and unable to fight him off the night she took pills that he convinced her were safe herbal supplements.

Andrea Constand emerged from 12 years of silence on Tuesday to testify at Mr Cosby's sexual assault trial.

Ms Constand has described how her professional relationship with the Temple University trustee evolved into a friendship that she considered critical to the school's athletics department where she worked.

At the same time, she said, Mr Cosby became more flirtatious and suggestive - grabbing her thigh at his home and attempting to unbutton her pants another time. Both times, she said, she made it clear she didn't welcome the behaviour.

"I'm not here for that. I don't want that," Ms Constand recalled telling him.

The next time she visited Mr Cosby's home, to discuss her future with the women's basketball team, she said the pills Mr Cosby gave her left her incapacitated as he grabbed her breast and touched her genitals.

She said she didn't tell anyone at the time out of loyalty to the women's basketball team, which she managed.

"I did not want to stir up any trouble," she said. "He was a trustee, he was an alumni there. And I believed he supported many of the athletic programmes," Ms Constand said.

She said she also feared what Mr Cosby might do: "I felt that if I had gone to the police, that Mr Cosby would retaliate and try to hurt me, that he would try to hurt me or my family in some way."

Mr Cosby (79) is charged with drugging and sexually abusing Ms Constand in 2004. Some 60 women have come forward to say he sexually violated them, 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.

Mr Cosby arrived at court with actress Sheila Frazier, who co-starred in the 1978 comedy 'California Suite', and her husband.

His lawyers cited differences between her testimony and the accounts she gave to police and in a lawsuit in 2005. The defence has argued the two had a romantic relationship.

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

The defence has pointed out that phone records show Ms Constand called Mr Cosby 53 times after she says he assaulted her. She said the calls mostly involved the basketball team.

"He was a Temple friend, somebody I trusted. A mentor," she said.

Irish Independent

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