Who is Andrea Constand, whose testimony sent Bill Cosby to prison for sexual assault?

The Woman Who Brought Down Bill Cosby

Andrea Constand is the only woman among more than 50 accusers whose complaint against Mr. Cosby has resulted in a conviction. A jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
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Andrea Constand is the only woman among more than 50 accusers whose complaint against Mr. Cosby has resulted in a conviction. A jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Actor Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in Pennsylvania state prison Tuesday after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.

But who is the woman who said she was drugged and molested by Cosby?

Her name is Andrea Constand, and her testimony made Cosby the first celebrity to be convicted on sexual assault charges in the #MeToo era. Once known as “America’s Dad,” Cosby was found guilty in April on three charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby, 81, faced up to 10 years in prison after the three charges were merged into one. A judge declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator” on Tuesday, meaning he has to register as a sex offender.

Constand and Cosby met in 2002, when the then-29-year-old woman was the director of operations for the woman’s basketball team at Temple University, according to PEOPLE Magazine, which reported from a 2005 civil lawsuit that Constand had filed.

Constand testified in court that she looked up to Cosby as a mentor, even if he tried to make sexual advances towards her, CNN reported. She said a friend at Temple University’s Liacouras Center connected her to Cosby, who in turn helped her network with other professionals.

“My thoughts were that he was a well-respected Temple advocate and trustee,” she said in court. “He was also a community leader ... and that made him a very well-respected person at Temple, and I was grateful for (him) helping me in any way that he did.”

But one night in 2004, Constand said Cosby invited her to his home and offered to provide her advice about her career, according to PEOPLE. In an interview with TODAY, she recalled the moment when she says Cosby drugged her with blue pills and then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Three blue pills. And he put his hand out and I said, ‘What are those?’ And he said, ‘They’ll help you relax,’” she recalled in her interview with TODAY. “And I said, ‘Are they natural? Are they, like, a herbal remedy?’ And he said, ‘No, they’re your friends. Just put them down.’”

Constand said she took the pills, and Cosby took her to a couch and began to molest her as she struggled to stay conscious. The alleged assault happened in Cosby’s mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

“I was limp. I was a limp noodle,” she told TODAY. “I was crying out inside, in my throat, in my mind, for this to stop.

“And I couldn’t do anything.”

Constand testified that the day after the assault — which left her “humiliated” — Cosby offered her a muffin and tea before she drove home, according to CNN. She said that her bra was “up around my neck and my pants were kind of half unzipped” when she woke up.

As a part of a lawsuit settlement in 2006, Cosby paid Constand $3.38 million but denied doing anything wrong, CNN noted.

Powerful men continue to be accused of sexual harassment and assaults, and have been responding by accepting, hedging or dodging the allegations.

After a mistrial in 2017, Cosby was convicted on sexual assault charges in April and sentenced to prison on Tuesday. He has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Appearing in court on Monday, Constand’s mother read her victim impact statement, which she said was “probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” The Huffington Post reported.

“This has been a very difficult situation for me and I have lost the ability to trust or share my feelings with anyone,” Gianna Constand said, according to The Huffington Post. “I do not believe in my heart that Bill Cosby has ever cared or even considered the pain and suffering this mess has caused us, or the family as a unit.”

And Constand’s father said the assault against his daughter “will always be with me like a dark cloud hanging over my head,” according to The Huffington Post. But Constand herself skipped any emotional pleas on Monday, instead simply asking for “justice.”

“Your honor, I have testified, I have given you my victim impact statement,” she said in court. “The jury heard me, Mr. Cosby heard me and now all I am asking for is justice as the court sees fit.”

On Tuesday, however, Constand detailed the pain that she says stems from Cosby’s sexual assault in a victim statement.

“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote in the victim statement, which wasn’t read aloud. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”

Bill Cosby arrives in court as the jury deliberates sexual assault allegations from 2004 involving Temple University employee Andrea Constand.