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Bill Cosby free on $1 million bail after sexual assault charge

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Pennsylvania prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they have charged Bill Cosby for an alleged sexual assault that took place in 2004. Later in the day, a judge set his bail at $1 million, which Cosby immediately paid to avoid spending time in jail.

The charge follows more than a year of mounting allegations against Cosby, which began after comedian Hannibal Buress put a spotlight on the issue. Nearly 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual misconduct over the past four decades, typically alleging that the comedian drugged and assaulted them.

Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault, a first-degree felony — the first criminal charges against the comedian. The assault allegedly took place at Cosby's home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Some of the allegations against Cosby could not be prosecuted due to limits imposed by states' statute of limitations. But this charge, rooted in a 2004 assault, happened in the 12-year time window in Pennsylvania law.

In July, the Associated Press reported on a 2005 deposition in which Cosby said he had purchased Quaaludes, a type of sedative, with the intent of giving them to women he planned to have sex with. Cosby didn't admit that he gave the sedative to women without their permission, but it certainly seems damning for the comedian in light of all the accusations against him.

To learn more about the allegations, check out Vox's full explainer: