Whatever happened to the universally beloved Bill Cosby, the Jell-O Pudding Pop-toting TV icon who was once considered "America's Favorite Dad"?
Philadelphia-area prosecutors who investigated a Canadian woman's allegation that Cosby drugged and groped her decided last week not to file criminal charges.The 31-year-old woman accused Cosby, 67, of giving her a pill that rendered her semiconscious and fondling her at his mansion early last year.
Cosby, who has been married to wife, Camille, for 41 years, denied the allegations through a lawyer but otherwise made no public comment. His attorney called the woman's claims "preposterous" and "bizarre." Prosecutors ultimately determined there was not enough credible evidence to pursue charges.
Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said in a statement that he also reviewed claims by other people that Cosby had "behaved inappropriately" toward them, but that detectives could find no instance "where anyone complained to law enforcement of conduct which would constitute a criminal offense."
The entertainer was "gratified" by the district attorney's decision, his attorney, Walter M. Phillips Jr., said in a statement. "Mr. Cosby looks forward to moving on with his life."
But Cosby may not immediately be able to put the scandal behind him. An attorney representing the woman said she will likely file a civil suit.
The accusation seems sharply at odds with Cosby's image as the beloved creator of "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and "The Cosby Show." Cosby has written several books on family, including one that is the basis for Nickelodeon's animated series "Fatherhood."
Last year, Cosby raised eyebrows when he criticized black parents -- specifically lower-income black parents -- for the way they reared their children.
The groping allegations and Cosby's criticism of black parents sparked controversy for very different reasons. But both may make it difficult for Cosby to regain the wholesome father figure image he enjoyed for so long.
"This is very difficult for someone like him," said Carole Gorney, director of the Center for Crisis Public Relations & Litigation Studies at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. " I don't think you'll see him doing any Jell-O commercials again anytime soon."
Cosby hasn't made Jell-O commercials in years, but he has hosted the show "Kids Say the Darndest Things" and a live-action version of "Fat Albert" hit the big screen late last year.
For his entire career, Cosby has championed the improvement of African-Americans through his comedy routines, his TV series and scholarships he has provided for black colleges.
However, last year Cosby lambasted poor black parents for their children's lagging performance in school, inability or unwillingness to speak standard English, and use of vulgar language. He blasted parents for using their cell phones as a primary communication for their children, letting TV raise their kids, and for "squandering the opportunities the civil rights movement gave them." He said too many blame white society for their ills when "we have to turn the mirror around." Cosby even made fun of the way some parents name their children.