A prosecutor investigating a fondling allegation against Bill Cosby said Wednesday that the accuser’s yearlong delay in coming forward, and their contact in the past year, weighed in the comedian’s favor.
Authorities interviewed Cosby on Wednesday and expect to know in two weeks whether they will bring charges in response to the allegation that he fondled the woman in his suburban Philadelphia home, Bruce L. Castor Jr., the Montgomery County district attorney, said at a news conference.
“I think that factors such as failure to disclose in a timely manner and contacts with the alleged perpetrator after the event are factors that weigh toward Mr. Cosby,” Castor said.
The woman went to Canadian authorities Jan. 13, contending that Cosby had given her some medication and later fondled her in his Cheltenham Township mansion a year earlier, after they and others met for dinner.
The woman’s attorney, Dolores M. Troiani, issued a strongly worded statement Wednesday defending the reporting delay and saying: “Our client is the victim of a sexual assault.”
Troiani said the trauma her client experienced, especially since she considered Cosby a friend and mentor, and Cosby’s celebrity made it difficult for her to come forward, and that delays are common in such cases.
“Look at what happened to Kobe Bryant’s accuser,” Troiani told The Associated Press. “We’re still blaming the victim.”
Troiani said Cosby had given the woman a pill that rendered her semiconscious, and that her client and Cosby were alone at the house, except for any staff that might have been there.
Castor said the woman’s allegation, if true, would constitute a misdemeanor or low-level felony. He said the decision to file charges would come down to whether there was criminal intent.
“In Pennsylvania, we charge people for criminal conduct. We don’t charge people with making a mistake or doing something foolish,” Castor said.
The district attornery added that Cosby and his attorney, Walter M. Phillips Jr., “have been fully cooperative without delay or hesitation.”
Phillips said he and Cosby met with Pennsylvania investigators for about 90 minutes. The meeting took place outside the state, but he declined to say where.
“I feel hopeful, even optimistic, that no criminal charges will be filed,” Phillips said.
The woman, a former basketball standout at the University of Arizona, worked at Temple University in Philadelphia for several years before returning to her native Canada to attend massage school.
Cosby, 67, is a Temple alumnus and booster who frequently attends campus events.
The woman told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story Wednesday that she came forward because she wanted to do the right thing. “What would you do? I did what I thought was right,” she was quoted as saying from her home in Ontario.
Troiani said she thought Cosby and the woman had seen each other once or twice in the intervening year, and that Cosby had met her parents in Canada before the alleged incident.
Troiani declined to have her client speak to the AP. It is the AP’s policy not to publish names of alleged sexual assault victims without their consent.