30 December, 2015
Prosecutors in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania have brought criminal charges against celebrity Bill Cosby.
Cosby, an American comedian, is charged with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
The case deals with a former Temple University employee who told police that Cosby drugged and violated her at his home near Philadelphia.
It marks the first criminal case involving Cosby, after many years of accusations. If he is found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
An arrest warrant for the 78-year-old Cosby has been issued.
More than 50 women have accused Cosby of drugging them, and in most cases, sexually assaulting them. Cosby has long denied the accusations.
Many of the incidents happened several decades ago, and the statute of limitations has already passed. A statute of limitations is a law that prevents a suspect from being tried after a certain amount of time has passed.
The statute of limitations in the Pennsylvania case was to expire in January 2016.
Bill Cosby is best known for playing Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the father in the long-running American television program, "The Cosby Show."
The charges have shocked Cosby's fans and damaged his reputation as an entertainer.
I'm Kathleen Struck.
Ashley Thompson adapted this story from Reuters materials and VOANews.com reports. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
Words in This Story
violate - v. (formal) to sexually assault or rape
accusation - n. a claim that someone has done something wrong or illegal
warrant - n. a document issued by a court that gives the police the power to do something
statute of limitations - n. a law that states the amount of time that must pass before a crime can no longer be punished or a right can no longer be given