U.S. comedian Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 after allegedly giving her wine and pills that left her unable to fight back.
The 78-year-old Cosby walked into a courthouse outside Philadelphia with a cane and was flanked by his lawyers.
Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault — a felony that could result in 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if he is convicted. He did not enter a plea, but Cosby and his lawyers have consistently denied charges of sexual misconduct.
Cosby was freed on $1 million bail and said nothing to reporters shouting questions as he entered and left the courthouse.
More than 50 women say Cosby sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1960s, when he first emerged as a comedy star.
The case announced Wednesday involves Andrea Constand, a former basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater.
Constand said she approached the comedian in 2004 for career advice. She said Cosby invited her to his suburban Philadelphia home, gave her wine, and urged her to take three blue pills.
Constand said she soon found herself unable to move or speak while Cosby fondled her. Constand settled a civil lawsuit against Cosby in 2006.
Cosby said during that suit that he and Constand had consensual sex. He admitted obtaining quaalude pills to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex, but insisted the encounters he had with women were consensual.
The allegations have destroyed Cosby's image as the good-natured storyteller and family man he developed over five decades as a major television comedy star.
The 1980's series The Cosby Show, in which he played a successful doctor, was television's highest-rated program for a number of years, but is scarcely seen in rebroadcasts.