A former Pennsylvania district attorney who declined to prosecute Bill Cosby on sexual assault allegations in 2005 is speaking out for the first time about why he decided to drop the case. His comments come as past allegations of sexual assaults have resurfaced in recent weeks.
"I didn’t say that he didn’t commit the crime,” said former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor. “What I said was there was insufficient, admissible, and reliable evidence upon which to base a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s 'prosecutors speak' for 'I think he did it but there's just not enough here to prosecute.'”
A former Temple University employee filed charges against Cosby in 2005, claiming he drugged and sexually assaulted her inside his home a year before. While he dropped the case, Castor told NBC10 he still believes something inappropriate may have taken place at Cosby’s home in 2004.
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"At the time I remember thinking that he probably did do something inappropriate," Castor said. "But thinking that and being able to prove it are two different things."
Castor, now a county commissioner and lawyer in private practice, told NBC10 the woman’s delay in making her allegations hampered his ability to prosecute.
“You lose the ability to test for blood or intoxicating agents, whether she was drugged,” Castor said.
Castor also said he lost the opportunity to quickly collect DNA and execute search warrants on Cosby’s home.
"As much as I wanted to go forward, there wasn’t enough evidence and prosecutors are bound by the law," he said. "I mean, I'm not a fool. I recognize that had I arrested Bill Cosby it would’ve been front page news at every newspaper in the world and led every broadcast in the world. In my position that’s something that might be of value to me."
Cosby, 77, has never been criminally charged with sexual assault. He settled a civil lawsuit in 2006 with an accuser. The terms of the settlement were confidential. In recent weeks however, more allegations of other sexual assaults have surfaced.
One accusation came from former actress Joan Tarshis. In an essay on Hollywood Elsewhere, Tarshis claimed Cosby drugged and assaulted her on two occasions in the fall of 1969 when she was 19-years-old.
"I was sickened by what was happening to me and shocked that this man I had idolized was now raping me," Tarshis wrote.
These latest claims have not been independently verified.
The renewed attention on the allegations began last month when a comedian, Hannibal Buress, assailed him during a stand-up performance in Philadelphia, Cosby's hometown, calling him a "rapist." His remarks were captured on video and posted online, gaining wide exposure.
It was harsh criticism of the veteran entertainer known equally for his charming standup comedy, groundbreaking NBC TV sitcom "The Cosby Show," which ran between 1984 and 1992, and demands for personal responsibility directed at fellow African-Americans.
Adding to the growing firestorm, one of Cosby's accusers, Barbara Bowman, leveled allegations of sexual assault against him in interviews and in an online column for The Washington Post. Bowman wrote that in 1985, she was 17 and an aspiring actress when Cosby "brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times."
Cosby has refused to address any of the allegations. His attorney John P. Schmitt said in a statement Sunday that Cosby will not dignify "decade-old, discredited" claims of sexual abuse with a response. Schmitt said the fact that the allegations are being repeated "does not make them true."
"He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work," Schmitt said.
NBC10 reached out to Schmitt multiple times for a response to Castor’s comments. We have not heard back.