Bill Cosby has been charged with sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004. The charges filed Wednesday by Montgomery County prosecutors are the first attempt to prosecute the entertainer who was once celebrated as "America's Dad" but has come under increasing scrutiny as dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. Accuser Andrea Constand first brought her case to the police in 2005, but prosecutors said at the time there wasn't enough evidence to file charges. The probe was reopened this summer after a long-sealed deposition Cosby gave as part of a civil suit filed by Constand was made public. "A prosecutor's job is to follow evidence wherever it takes us, and sometimes that means whenever it comes to light," Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said. "Reopening this case was not a question. Rather, reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers." The charges were filed just days before the 12-year statute of limitations was to expire. Read more
The more than 50 women brought together by alleged unwanted sexual encounters with Bill Cosby use a private social-media group to share their fears, hopes and experiences. And as word of Cosby's arrest on felony sexual-assault charges in Montgomery County spread Wednesday, the self-described "sisterhood" shared another feeling: joy. "Our social media started blowing up like you wouldn't believe," said Lise-Lotte Lublin, a 49-year-old from Las Vegas. "There's excitement and elation, but there's fear at the same time, because this is something we dreamed about, we waited for, we hoped would happen, something we prayed would happen, and the reality of it was just surreal." Another accuser, 57-year-old Janice Baker-Kinney, a New Jersey native now living in California, called Cosby's arrest "a great way to start the new year." Read more
Chip Kelly's phone was abuzz Tuesday night. But the hundreds of people tweeting their ire to @chipkelly weren't reaching the now-former Eagles coach. Their Twitter messages went to a less-famous executive for a California start-up with the same name. "I got some unbelievable things," said Kelly, who was vacationing in South Carolina. The nonfootball Kelly says he's used to the mistaken identity and doesn't mind being a cathartic source for venting Eagles fans. Read more
Everyone knows about the iconic ball drop in Times Square for New Year's Eve. But at the stroke of midnight in Pennsylvania, a 500-pound mushroom, a jumbo strawberry, an 85-pound Peeps chick and a hunk of bologna will all fall from the sky in Pennsylvania. More objects are lowered or raised in the Keystone State to mark the start of the new year than in any other, with ceremonial drops planned in about 30 to 40 towns. "It's something that . . . is really tied to our community pride," said Carrie Fischer Lepore, state tourism director. Read more
After he partially vetoed the spending plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf told lawmakers to return to the Capital to resume work on a final budget deal. "There is no reason why the House and Senate shouldn't be called back into session, to get back to work and implement the bipartisan budget agreement," the Democratic governor told legislative leaders in a letter. But the letter appeared unlikely to spur lawmakers to head back to Harrisburg or bring an end to the months-long budget impasse. Read more