-- Bill Cosby began the year fighting allegations of sexual misconduct. Now, he's ending 2015 in court after being charged with aggravated indecent assault.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in Norristown, Pennsylvania, filed the assault charge earlier today in relation to accusations that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in early 2004. The statute of limitations would have expired early next year. In a civil lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court and the terms not disclosed, Constand accused the famed comedian of battery and assault when she worked at Temple University.
Cosby, 78, was first publicly accused of assault by Constand more than 10 years ago. He was not criminally charged until today.
The turning point came at the end of 2014, after a fellow comedian's remark went viral and dozens of women came forward with claims, some dating back nearly 50 years. His attorneys have issued a number of denials since then.
Here's a timeline of events since then:
Oct. 16, 2014Comedian Hannibal Buress made the joke heard around the world. Performing in Cosby's home town of Philadelphia, he mocked Cosby's public persona. "Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the '80s," he said in the bit. "Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches."
Nov. 10, 2014To counter the bad press, Cosby's PR team launches an online meme generator. Twitter responds with references to the rape claims.
Nov. 13, 2014Barbara Bowman, who first publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault in 2006 and was a witness in Constand's lawsuit, pens an op-ed in the Washington Post. Titled "Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story," Bowman wrote that it was only after a male comedian called Cosby a rapist that the "public outcry begin in earnest."
Nov. 15, 2014Asked about the charges on NPR's "Weekend Edition," Cosby stays silent. But his lawyer, John P. Schmitt, later posted a notice to the comedian's website, saying Cosby would not be addressing "decade-old, discredited allegations."
"The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true," Schmitt said in the statement. "There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives."
Nov. 16, 2014A new accuser, Joan Tarshis, tells CNN that Cosby drugged and assaulted her on two occasions in 1969.
Nov. 17, 2014Linda Joy Traitz, a former waitress at a restaurant owned in part by Cosby, writes a lengthy Facebook post, accusing the star of trying to drug her in the early '70s.
Nov. 20, 2014TV Land pulls planned repeats of "The Cosby Show" from its schedule amid sexual assault allegations against the comedian. NBC and Netflix also shelve projects with the comedian.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press releases video of its Nov. 6 interview with Cosby in which he tells the interviewer to "scuttle" footage of him refusing to comment on the assault charges.
Cosby's lawyer Martin Singer tells ABC News, "The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity. These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years."
Cosby himself tells Florida Today, "I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos. People should fact check. People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos."
Nov. 23, 2014Former NBC employee Frank Scotti tells the New York Daily News that he paid off eight women on Cosby's behalf, sending thousands of dollars in money orders to the women to keep them quiet.
Nov. 30, 2014In a first-person essay for Vanity Fair, model Beverly Johnson accuses Cosby of drugging her in the mid-'80s but says she doesn’t believe she was raped. She later tells ABC News, "I knew that I was in danger, I knew that this was not a recreational drug of any kind, it was...I was really afraid, I was afraid for my life."
Dec. 1, 2014Cosby resigns from Temple University's board of trustees.
Dec. 3, 2014 Cosby breaks his silence on Twitter to thank Whoopi Goldberg and singer Jill Scott for their support. Both women have since publicly backed off of their support.
Dec. 4, 2014After Judy Huth claims in a 2014 lawsuit that Cosby forced her to perform a sex act in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15, the comedian fires back with a lawsuit, saying Huth is lying and trying to extort money from him.
The Navy also announces in a statement to the Associated Press that it is revoking Cosby's title of honorary chief petty officer, saying allegations of sexual abuse made against the comedian are serious and conflict with the Navy's core values.
Dec. 13, 2014Cosby tells New York Post reporter Stacy Brown that he expects "the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism" and stay neutral. He also said his wife, Camille, is standing by him.
Dec. 15, 2014Camille 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."
Dec. 16, 2014Cosby's daughter Evin releases her own statement. "He is the FATHER you thought you knew," she tells "Access Hollywood." "'The Cosby Show' was my today's TV reality show. Thank you. That's all I would like to say :)"
Jan. 7, 2015Phylicia Rashad, 66, who played Cosby's wife Claire Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," clarifies remarks she made earlier defending her former co-star.
"We are really missing what is wrong here, which is, this is the United States of America. I know it's changing, but it's still the United States of America and there are tenets that we live by," she told ABC News. "There is the Constitution of the United States, which ensures innocence until proof of guilt and that has not happened. But what has happened is declaration in the media of guilt, without proof. And a legacy is being destroyed because of it. It's being obliterated."
July 6, 2015Court documents from Constand's 2005 lawsuit are released in which Cosby admitted to giving a woman Quaaludes. Cosby said he obtained the drugs with the idea that he would give them to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex.
July 26, 2015Spelman College discontinues its endowed professorship named after Cosby and returns the remaining funds to the comedian and his wife, who had previously donated $20 million to the black college.
July 27, 2015New York magazine photographs 35 of Cosby's accusers for a stunning cover story, in which they tell their stories of the alleged assaults and their decision to come forward.
September 24, 2015Marquette and Fordham revoke Cosby's honorary degrees.
October 6, 2015Chloe Goins, a 25-year-old Las Vegas model and one of the youngest women to come forward, files a lawsuit against Cosby, claiming he drugged and assaulted her in 2008 when she was just a teenager. LA prosecutors are reviewing her case after the LAPD presented the findings of their investigation. Cosby has previously denied the accusations, saying he was not at the party at the Playboy mansion where the alleged incident took place.
October 9, 2015Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents a number of Cosby's accusers, deposes the comedian under oath in Judy Huth's civil lawsuit.
October 15, 2015Tufts and Goucher strip Cosby of his honorary degrees. Days later, Amherst rescinds Cosby's honorary doctorate -- the first time in the school's history.
October 21, 2015Cosby fires his longtime lawyer, Marty Singer, one of his most vocal defenders in the press.
December 14, 2015Cosby files a defamation counter-suit today against seven women who previously accused him of sexual misconduct. The original suit was filed by Green in December 2014 and the other women joined this year.
The comedian's lawyer, Monique Pressley, said in a statement obtained by ABC News that Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie have made "malicious, opportunistic and false and defamatory" comments about him.
Green, who in 2006 told People magazine that Cosby drugged and groped her, filed a defamation suit against Cosby last December. Serignese, Traitz, Moritz, Bowman, Tarshis and Leslie joined the suit this year.
December 21, 2015A week later, Cosby files a defamation lawsuit against Beverly Johnson. In a statement from his lawyer, he says "he never drugged defendant and her story is a lie" and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, a retraction of her statements, and the removal of the chapter from her memoir in which the incident is mentioned.
Dec. 30, 2015More than 50 women have come forward, most of them within the thirteen months, but the legendary actor and comedian had never been charged with a crime -- until now. Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in 2004. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment and is free on $1 million bail.
"The charge by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office came as no surprise, filed 12 years after the alleged incident and coming on the heels of a hotly contested election for this county's DA during which this case was made the focal point," Pressley said in a statement. "Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law."