Bill Cosby was once America's most beloved TV dad. As the star of The Cosby Show, the entertainer warmed his way into homes and has been credited for helping break racial stereotypes.
But by the mid-2010s, that wholesome, family-man image was shattered when over 60 women came forward with sexual assault accusations, the earliest dating back to 1965. The former stand-up comedian was eventually charged with drugging and molesting a Temple University employee, stemming from an incident at his suburban estate in 2004.
The 83-year-old was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and was sentenced to three to ten years in prison in September 2018.
But in a shocking twist, Pennsylvania's highest court overturned the TV icon's sexual assault conviction on Wednesday, June 30. The court said that they found an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case. This new ruling also bars any retrial in the case, court documents say.
With Cosby now a free man, we are looking back at how the once admired actor lost his way and become an alleged sexual predator.
Scroll through the gallery below to see Cosby through the years.
Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic in San Francisco during the 1960s. He then landed a starring role in the television show I Spy, followed by his own sitcom The Bill Cosby Show, which ran for two seasons from 1969-1971. In 1972, using the Fat Albert character developed during his stand-up routines, Cosby created, produced and hosted the animated comedy television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which ran until 1985, centering on a group of young friends growing up in an urban area.
In 1976, he earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.
Beginning in the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in the television sitcom The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984-1992 and was rated as the number one show in America from 1985-1989. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family.
In its eight-season run, The Cosby Show won six Emmys, two Golden Globes, three NAACP Awards and 11 People's Choice Awards. The series generated $2.5 billion in television revenue, including $1 billion from television advertisement and $1.5 billion from syndication.
In the mid-2010s, numerous women made sexual assault accusations against Cosby, the earliest dating back to 1965. More than 60 women accused him of either sexual assault, rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, or sexual misconduct, all of which he has denied. However, the statute of limitations had expired in nearly all other cases.
Cosby was accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, the former Temple University employee at his suburban estate in 2004. He was charged in 2015 for the alleged attack and arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
Constand first cam forward wither her allegations in 2004, however, in February 2005, Montgomery County Pennsylvania's District Attorney said there would be no charges due to insufficient credible and admissible evidence. Constand then filed a civil claim in March 2005, with thirteen women as potential witnesses if the case went to court. Cosby settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in November 2006.
Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and convicted of drugging and molesting Constand. He was sentenced to three to ten years in prison in September 2018.
Cosby vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the encounter with his accuser.
Cosby has been incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution – Phoenix, a new maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania, for over two years. In May, his parole petition has been rejected by the Pennsylvania Parole Board, according to a letter from the board. A number of reasons were given for the refusal, according to CNN, including Cosby reportedly refusing to participate in a therapy program for sexually violent predators.
He was released on Wednesday, June 30.