— -- 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. 18, 2014Supermodel Janice Dickinson tells "Entertainment Tonight" that the comedian drugged and raped her in 1982.
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.
Nov. 21, 2014More women come forward, including Carla Ferrigno, wife and manager of "Incredible Hulk" actor Lou Ferrigno, who says Cosby "attacked" her when she was a teenager. Nurse Theresa Serignese tells "20/20" that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1976 when she was 19. Others tell similar stories of being drugged and forced to have sex.
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."