Bill Cosby’s Fall From Grace: A Complete Timeline


Bill Cosby’s booking photo from Dec. 30, 2015 (Photo: Cheltenham Township Police Department)

In a Pennsylvania court Wednesday, Bill Cosby entered no plea to a charge of first-degree aggravated indecent assault but paid a $1 million bail bill to remain a free man. It’s the first criminal charge Cosby will face after more than 50 women have accused him of sexual assault throughout his decades of fame, brought by the first woman, Andrea Constand, to file a legal complaint against him.

The charge against Cosby comes with a possible sentence behind bars of up to 10 years and could be his formal unraveling. But there have been grumblings of his misconduct for years. Here is a timeline of the events that lead us here.

November 2002: Bill Cosby meets Andrea Constand, at the time the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby sits on the Board of Trustees. Constand says that Cosby, who was on Temple’s track and field team, becomes a mentor to her.

January 2004: Constand accepts an invitation to Cosby’s Cheltenham, Penn., home to discuss her career. While she’s there, she says Cosby urges her to take some pills for anxiety and gives her wine. She says he then “touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated” her.


Andrea Constand in 1997 (Photo: AP Photo)

January 13, 2005: Constand, who has since moved back to her native Canada, reports the assault to Canadian authorities. Her story bears similarities to jokes that Cosby has made in stand-up routines about drugging women’s drinks as far back as 1969. Cosby’s lawyer calls Constand’s claims “utterly preposterous” and “plainly bizarre.”

February 10, 2005: Tamara Green, a California attorney, appears on the Today Show and says that Cosby drugged and groped her in the 1970s. Then an aspiring model, she met the comic through a friend. Over lunch, he gave her what he said was a Contact pill because she was suffering a cold. She started to feel worse and dizzy, so he helped her back to her apartment — and started removing her clothes. However, she put up a fight and Cosby ultimately left, leaving two $100 bills on her coffee table. She said she was finally going public with her story because the district attorney in Constand’s case criticized her for waiting too long before reporting the assault. “It was at that time I decided that if there were only two us, one a long time ago and one right now, then that’s two too many,” she said. Cosby’s rep said that he had never heard of Green and called the allegations “absolutely false.”

February 22, 2005: Citing “insufficient credible and admissible evidence,” the Montgomery County, Penn., district attorney announces he will not act on Constand’s claims and press criminal charges against Cosby.

March 8, 2005: In response, Constand files a civil suit against Bill Cosby seeking $150,000 in damages. Her lawyers state that they have 13 witnesses, listed in the papers as Jane Does, who had come forward with similar claims of Cosby drugging and/or abusing them.

June 23, 2005: Jane Doe No. 5 goes public. In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Beth Ferrier says she was a model and recent college grad when she met the comedian through her agent in 1984. Though Cosby was married at the time, she says they had a six-month affair. Ferrier says Cosby invited her to a show of his in the area a couple weeks after she broke things off. After drinking a cappuccino in his dressing room, she says she woke up, “in the back of my car all alone. My clothes were a mess. My bra was undone. My top was untucked. And I’m sitting there going, ‘Oh my God. Where am I?’ What’s going on?'” She says she confronted Cosby, who said, “You just had too much to drink.”

February 2006: While her civil suit is ongoing, Constand sues one of Cosby’s lawyers and the National Enquirer for defamation. Cosby had spoken to the tabloid the year earlier and Constand claims the interview was done “[intending] to or knowing it would injure” her.

June 2006: Philadelphia magazine interviews another witness in Constand’s lawsuit, Barbara Bowman. Later that year, in a separate interview, she would say, “Cosby threw me on the bed and braced his forearm against my neck and attempted to disrobe me and himself — I can still remember him messing with his belt. And I was screaming and crying and yelling and begging him to stop.”

November 2006: Cosby settles his lawsuit with Constand before she or any of the other 13 witnesses have the chance to testify. None of the terms of the settlement are disclosed and a confidentiality agreement is reportedly a part of the settlement.

December 2006: Bowman speaks out again against Cosby, this time to People. She says he assaulted her in a hotel room in Reno, Nevada, in 1986 but kept quiet and continued as his protégé because, “Who’s gonna believe this? He was a powerful man. He was like the president.” People also reports that three of the Jane Does from Constand’s case took cash from Cosby for years and that two others began consensual sexual relationships with Cosby after their assaults.


Bill Cosby (Photo: Getty Images)

March 19, 2009: An episode of 30 Rock airs called, “The Bubble.” In the episode, written by Tina Fey herself, Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy gets a Bill Cosby impersonator to try to convince Tracy Morgan’s Tracy Jordan to return to 30 Rock’s show-within-a-show. “Bill Cosby, you got a lotta nerve getting on the phone with me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette!” Jordan’s character says to the impersonator. “1971. Cincinnati. She was a cocktail waitress with the droopy eye!”

February 2014: In two separate stories in Newsweek, Katie Baker interviews Cosby accusers Green and Bowman. Bowman says she was disappointed in the settlement and detailed Cosby’s final assault against her in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She says after she was dropped by her agent, Cosby said, “I better never ever hear your name or see your face ever again.” In her interview, Green says after her assault she ran into him in Las Vegas and shouted, “Rapist! Liar! A**hole!” at him.

Cosby does not respond to Bowman’s claims, but issues a statement in response to Green saying, “This is a 10-year-old, discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing.”


Hannibal Buress (Photo: AP Photo)

October 16, 2014: Comedian Hannibal Buress calls Cosby a rapist during a set in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown. “Bill Cosby has the f**king smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” he says. “’Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches.” A clip of the set goes viral and becomes, for whatever reason, the match that lights the fire.

October 31, 2014: Bill Cosby cancels an appearance on the Queen Latifah Show.

November 10, 2014: In an attempt to put a stop to the bad press, Cosby’s team launches a meme generator. It is almost immediately inundated with references to the rape claims.

November 13, 2014: In response to Buress’s bit, Bowman writes an op-ed for the Washington Post called, “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” In it, she notes, “Only when a male comedian called Cosby a rapist did the accusation take hold.” Cosby cancels an upcoming appearance on the Late Show with Dave Letterman.

November 15, 2014: Cosby and his wife are asked about rape allegations on NPR’s Weekend Edition but he refuses to answer. Cosby’s lawyer issues a statement saying the comedian “won’t dignify these allegations with any response.”

November 16, 2014: Cosby’s lawyer issues another statement: “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.”

Hours later, former actress, music industry publicist, and journalist Joan Tarshis goes public with her own story. “As more and more of his rape victims have come forward, all telling similar stories,” she says, “the time is right to join them.”

November 17, 2014: Linda Joy Traitz, a former waitress at Cosby’s Café Figaro, pens a Facebook post accusing him of trying to drug her in the early ‘70s. “He drove out to the beach and opened a briefcase filled with assorted drugs and kept offering me pills 'to relax,’ which I declined. He began to get sexually aggressive and wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer. I freaked out and demanded to be taken home.”


Janice Dickinson (Photo: Getty Images)

November 18, 2014: During a segment on Entertainment Tonight, former supermodel Janice Dickinson says she too was one of Cosby’s victims. She says the two had dinner together after a show of his in Lake Tahoe in 1982; he gave her a pill he said was for menstrual cramps and a glass of wine. “Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning, I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs,” she says.

Dickinson referenced the attack in her 2002 memoir and later tells Howard Stern that she was asked by her publisher to change the story to show Cosby in a softer light.

Netflix also puts its announced Cosby stand-up special, which was to stream Thanksgiving week, on indefinite hold.

November 19, 2014: Cosby Show re-runs are pulled from TV Land, and NBC cancels plans to develop a sitcom with him.

The Associated Press releases previously unseen footage of Cosby telling an AP reporter to “scuttle” footage of him refusing to comment on the rape allegations. “If you want to consider yourself to be serious, it will not appear anywhere,” he says.

After a fake news website posts a story claiming Raven-Symoné, who played Cosby’s granddaughter on The Cosby Show, was abused by him as a child, she takes to Instagram to dispute the claim. “I was NOT taking [sic] advantage of by Mr. Cosby when I was on the Cosby Show! I was practically a baby on that show and this is truly a disgusting rumor that I want no part of! Everyone on that show treated me with nothing but kindness. Now keep me out of this!”

November 20, 2014: Three additional women come forward to accuse Cosby of assault. Carla Ferrigno, the wife and manager of Lou Ferrigno, says he “attacked” her when she was a teenager, kissing her at a 1967 party. Love, American Style actress Louisa Moritz says Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him in a Tonight Show greenroom in 1971. And nurse Theresa Serignese claims Cosby drugged and raped her in 1976; Serignese was one of the 13 Jane Does in the 2005 civil case.

November 21, 2014: Another day, more accusers. Kristina Ruehli says Cosby tried to force her to perform oral sex after he spiked her bourbon in 1965; Picture Pages actress Renita Chaney Hill says she was drugged and assaulted multiple times throughout her teens; and model Angela Leslie says Cosby invited her to his Las Vegas hotel room in 1992, where he got naked and forced her to masturbate him.

Several theaters, including Vegas’s Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, and the Virginia Theater in Illinois, cancel upcoming appearances by Cosby.

November 22, 2014: The Washington Post publishes an account from former Playboy Playmate Victoria Valentino who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her and a friend in 1970. “He came over to me and sat down on the love seat and opened his fly and grabbed my head and pushed my head down,” she says. “And then he turned me over. It was like a waking nightmare.”

November 23, 2014: Former Cosby Show employee Frank Scotti says he was in charge of delivering payoffs to eight different women.

November 24, 2014: Model Jewel Allison accuses Cosby of assaulting her in the late 1980s. “There’s no such thing as America’s Dad,” she says. “There’s just a man named Bill Cosby. He’s a very sick sociopath.”

Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker apologizes on Twitter for not addressing the sexual assault allegations in his book, Cosby: His Life and Times.

November 26, 2014: Donna Motsinger, another of the 2005 Jane Does, steps forward saying she was drugged in Cosby’s limo. “These women are not lying,” she tells ABC 7 in San Francisco. “"I’m not lying. It’s God’s honest truth.”

December 1, 2014: Cosby resigns from his position on the Board of Trustees at Temple University.

December 2, 2014: Judy Huth becomes the first Cosby accuser in nearly a decade to get the legal system involved. She files suit for “psychological damage and mental anguish” against Cosby, saying that, in 1974, when she was 15, Cosby snuck her into a party at the Playboy Mansion where he forced her to masturbate him.

December 3, 2014: Famed lawyer Gloria Allred holds a press conference where Beth Ferrier is joined by two new accusers. Helen Hayes says that, in 1973, Cosby stalked her “like a predator” before sneaking up behind her and grabbing her breast. A woman going only by “Chelan” says she was drugged and assaulted in a hotel room in 1986. Allred calls on Cosby to donate $100 million for settlements to the accusers.

December 4, 2014: Cosby files a countersuit against Huth saying she tried to extort him with threat of a sexual assault claim. Cosby and his lawyers seek $33,000 in damages.

More fallout for Cosby continues: The Navy strips him of his honorary chief petty officer title and someone writes “rapist” on Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Beverly Johnson (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

December 11, 2014: Model Beverly Johnson accuses Cosby of drugging her with a cappuccino in the mid-’80s. She says she realized she’d been drugged and called Cosby a “motherf**ker” before passing out, annoying him so much that he dragged her outside and called her a cab.

December 13, 2014: Cosby tells Page Six that he expects “the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism [and] go in with a neutral mind,” in regards to the assault claims.

December 15, 2014: Model Chloe Goins says Cosby drugged her in 2008, the most recent assault claim yet. Goins says the two met at a party at the Playboy Mansion; she blacked out after accepting a drink from him and woke up with him licking her toes and touching himself.

Spellman College drops its endowed professor position named after Cosby. The comedian and his wife had donated $20 million to the school.

Also on this day, Camille Cosby speaks out for the first time. “The man I met, and fell in love with, and whom I continue to love, is the man you all knew through his work,” she says in a statement. “A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know.”

December 16, 2014: Bill Cosby’s daughter Evin releases her own statement: “He is the father you thought you knew,” she says. Evin also compares The Cosby Show to a “reality show.”

December 17, 2014: The Los Angeles County District Attorney declines to prosecute Cosby in Huth’s case, as the statute of limitations has run out. Huth maintains her civil suit against Cosby.

December 19, 2014: A new accuser known as “Lisa” tells Dr. Phil that Cosby gave her a drugged drink in his hotel room in 1988 and that she woke up two days later with no memory of what happened.

December 22, 2014: Actress Kathy McKee says that Cosby, whom she considered a “buddy” at the time, raped her in his hotel room in the early 1970s. She says she never told anyone about it, including her boyfriend at the time, Sammy Davis Jr.: “I just figured, If I don’t think about it, it won’t bother me.”

January 4, 2015: On an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, former Cosby Show actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is fired after not asking Cosby for money as part of a challenge. The episode, however, was shot months before many of the new accusations and, following the episode’s airing, Pulliam defends her TV father saying, “Unfortunately, in the court of public opinion everyone has formed their opinion, but we’re still in America and you’re innocent until proven guilty of any crimes.”

January 6, 2015: Cosby’s on-screen wife Phylicia Rashad defends him in a set of highly controversial remarks to Roger Friedman. “Forget these women,” she says. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s [about] the legacy.”

January 7, 2015: In another press conference with Gloria Allred, three more accusers step forward. Linda Kirkpatrick says she woke up with Cosby on top of her after taking a drink from him at a party in the 1980s. Lynn Neal says Cosby pretended to he her friend before drugging and raping her. And “Kacey” says that Cosby assaulted her in 1996 when she was working as an assistant to his agent.

At the press conference, Allred criticizes Rashad for her remarks the previous day. In response, Rashad claims that she was misquoted and Friedman writes a new post to clarify what Rashad meant by her remarks. “There was NEVER the meaning in ‘Forget those women’ that she was saying to actually forget or dismiss then,” Friedman writes. “She meant, ‘those women aside’ — as in, she’s not talking about that, she’s talking about Cosby’s legacy being destroyed.”

January 11, 2015: In their opening monologue at the Golden Globe Awards, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler dug into Cosby saying that, in Into the Woods, “Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.” Reaction in the room was decidedly mixed.

January 14, 2015: The LAPD announces plans to investigate Chloe Goins’s claims that she was assaulted in 2008. Hers is the first accusation to fall within the statute of limitations.

January 26, 2015: In an essay for the Huffington Post, former film executive Cindra Ladd accuses Cosby of raping her. She says he gave her a pill for “headaches” and when she awoke, she was naked in a strange bed and that Cosby was in a bathrobe. “It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me,” she writes.

February 8, 2015: At a press conference, former Cosby Show actress Helen Gumpel claims Cosby attempted to assault her in the late 1980s and that after she refused him, “My career was a victim.”

February 12, 2015: At another press conference, Linda Brown and Lise-Lotte Lublin say that they were both assaulted by Cosby after being invited to his hotel room for a drugged drink. However, the two incidents took place two decades apart.

February 19, 2015: Cosby publicly thanks Eddie Murphy who, it’s been recently revealed, refused to play him during a sketch for SNL’s 40th anniversary show. “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” a Cosby spokesperson says.

February 24: 2015: Another new Cosby accuser, Heidi Thomas, says Cosby flew her out to Reno for a mentoring session where he drugged and assaulted her.

March 3, 2015: A woman named Patricia, another of the 13 Jane Does from the 2005 case, tells BuzzFeed she was raped twice by Bill Cosby. Once in 1978 and again in 1980.

March 27, 2015: At another Gloria Allred press conference, two more accusers step forward. Sunni Welles says she was family friends with Cosby and that she went to a jazz club with him at age 17, with her parents’ permission. After drinking a Coke, she says she blacked out and woke up the next morning knowing she’d been assaulted. Margie Shapiro says she met Cosby when she was working at a donut shop in 1975. She says the two were playing pinball and, at his suggestion, the loser had to take a pill. She did, and later woke up with Cosby still inside her. At the press conference, Shapiro produces a box of matches she said she took from Cosby’s home.

April 23, 2015: Allred brings three more accusers forward. Janice Baker-Kinney says she was drugged by Cosby after meeting him in the early 1980s. Marcella Tate, a former model, went to the Playboy Mansion with Cosby in 1975. Autumn Burns says Cosby offered to mentor her and then drugged her in his hotel room.

May 1, 2015: At yet another Allred press conference, two more accusers speak. Sammie Mays says she met Cosby at a conference in the mid-’80s and was drugged in his hotel room after being invited up for a drink. Lili Bernard says she was raped by Cosby in the early ‘90s. Bernard’s assault took place in New Jersey, which has no statute of limitations for rape; Allred says she and Bernard went to police the day before.

July 6, 2015: The Associated Press obtains court documents, including Cosby’s testimony, from Constand’s 2005 civil suit. Under oath, Cosby confirms one accuser’s story that he had sex with her after giving her quaaludes, though he dodges answering whether or not she knew he was giving them to her.

July 18, 2015: The New York Times releases more excerpts from Cosby’s 2005 deposition in which he details his strategy of getting women to sleep with him by targeting professionally or emotionally vulnerable women and playing the mentor role.

July 21, 2015: Cosby’s lawyers criticize the media’s rhetoric in reporting allegations against their client. “Reading the media accounts, one would conclude that defendant has admitted to rape,” Patrick O'Connor and George Gowen write, filing to keep the rest of Cosby’s 2005 court records sealed. “And yet defendant admitted to nothing more than being one of the many people who introduced quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s.”


July 27, 2015: New York magazine releases its cover featuring 35 of the women who’ve accused Cosby of rape or assault. In the story, Joan Tarshis, one of the first women to step forward, calls the group a “sorrowful sisterhood.”

August 12, 2015: In another Allred press conference, three new accusers step forward. Linda Ridgeway Whitedeer claims Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him on a film set. Colleen Harris says she was his flight attendant on several occasions and that he eventually invited her to his hotel room where she was drugged and woke up covered in semen. Actress Eden Tirl says Cosby sexually harassed her on the set of The Cosby Show.

August 20, 2015: Allred brings two new accusers forward, bringing the total number of women who’ve accused Cosby of rape or assault to 51. Charlotte Fox says she was 23 years old when she was drugged and raped at the Playboy Mansion, after she’d eaten food Cosby had given her. A woman known as “Elizabeth” said she met Cosby on an American Airlines flight where she was a flight attendant in 1976. She says after drinking sake with him at a Japanese restaurant, she ended up in his hotel room and “was forced to submit to a sex act she would not detail.”

September 24, 2015: Both Marquette and Fordham Universities rescind Cosby’s honorary degrees.

September 30, 2015: Three more women come forward in another Allred press conference. Sharon Van Ert says Cosby offered her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked in 1976, drugged her and when she woke up, her underwear was gone. Pamela Abeyta says she was trying to network with Cosby in 1979, and after they had dinner together, she blacked out and awoke in his hotel room. After years as her mentor, Lisa Christie says Cosby told her, “You’re never going to make it in this business unless you sleep with me.”

October 9, 2015: Speaking with the Associated Press, Cosby’s on-screen son Malcolm-Jamal Warner says, “My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what… negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had The Cosby Show to hold up against that. And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most because in a few generations, the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale.”

October 11, 2015: Cosby testifies under oath in a deposition for Judy Huth’s lawsuit. His testimony remains sealed.


October 15, 2015: Tufts and Goucher Universities strip Cosby of two more honorary degrees. Ebony releases a powerful cover featuring the fictional Cosby family in a shattered frame.

October 19, 2015: Amherst rescinds Cosby’s honorary doctorate.

Eddie Murphy, accepting the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize, does a series of jokes about Cosby, starting: “Bill has one of these. Did you all make Bill give his back? You know you f***ed up when they want you to give your trophies back.”

October 21, 2015: Cosby fires his lawyer, Marty Singer.

October 23, 2015: Two more women accuse Cosby. An actress using only the name “Dottye” says he invited her to his home in 1984 to audition for The Cosby Show. After a drink made her “foggy,” she says he took off her clothes, made her shower, and raped her. Donna Barrett says the comedian attacked her from behind at a track meet at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004.

December 30, 2015: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele files charges of first degree aggravated indecent assault against Cosby for his part in Constand’s assault, which allegedly took place at Cosby’s suburban Philadelphia home. They are the first criminal charges Cosby has faced since the allegations came to light. Cosby remains free after paying his $1 million bail and giving up his passport. His preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 14, 2016.

Additional reporting by Suzy Byrne.