Comedian Bill Cosby was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 after plying her with drugs and alcohol, marking the only criminal case against a once-beloved performer whose father-figure persona was damaged by dozens of misconduct accusations.
Cosby, 78, walking with a cane and accompanied by two lawyers, appeared for his arraignment hours later at a courthouse in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, where he posted a $1 million bond, turned over his passport and was ordered to avoid any contact with his accuser.
Smiling and politely thanking District Court Judge Elizabeth McHugh at the end of the brief proceeding, Cosby left the courthouse and was driven to a nearby police precinct to be finger-printed and booked.
He emerged from the police station 10 minutes later and was whisked away in the same black sport utility vehicle that had delivered him to the courthouse. He made no statements as a throng of reporters shouted questions at him.
The case against Cosby was filed just before the statute of limitations deadline for a criminal prosecution was due to lapse in January. The charge stems from allegations leveled by Andrea Constand, who settled a civil case against Cosby for an undisclosed sum in 2006.
“Today, after examination of all the evidence, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim,” Kevin Steele, the newly elected district attorney for Montgomery County, told an earlier news conference. Steele made a campaign issue of his intent to prosecute Cosby.
Constand, a former basketball team…