A lawyer for Bill Cosby said Sunday the comedian will not dignify "decade-old, discredited" claims of sexual abuse with a response.

The statement from attorney John P. Schmitt - released to The Associated Press and posted online - is Cosby's first reaction to rising uproar over allegations that he had sexually assaulted several women in the past.

Cosby declined Saturday in an interview on NPR's Weekend Edition to answer any questions about the recently resurfaced allegations of sexual assault.

He didn't say a word when asked by host Scott Simon about the allegations that have drawn public attention for years, resurfacing more strongly than ever in recent days.

"You're shaking your head no," Simon said after asking Cosby about the accusations in an interview taped last week.

"I'm in the news business. I have to ask the question: Do you have any response to those charges?"

There was no audible response.

"Shaking your head no," Simon said. "There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance."

Again, silence.

Cosby has not commented publicly on the allegations since they resurfaced last month. He settled a suit in November 2006, for an undisclosed sum, in which a former Temple University employee had accused him of drugging, groping, and digitally penetrating her in his Cheltenham home.

An additional 13 women had come forward with similar claims and agreed to serve as witnesses in the case. One of them, Barbara Bowman, has repeated the accusations in recent interviews and in a Washington Post column Thursday, saying she was sexually assaulted several times when she was 17.

Cancellations

Last week, amid the renewed attention to the claims, a scheduled Cosby appearance this week on David Letterman's late-night CBS show was canceled. Neither side has said why.

An earlier appearance, on The Queen Latifah Show, was also canceled. The show characterized the cancellation of the Oct. 30 appearance as a postponement that Cosby had requested.

Comedian Hannibal Buress, in an Oct. 16 show at the Trocadero Theatre that was filmed by Philadelphia Magazine's Dan McQuade and spread widely online, called Cosby "a rapist."

That drew renewed attention to the accusations, including Bowman's allegations in the Washington Post.

In one case, she wrote, she blacked out while at Cosby's home in New York City. "I'm certain now that he drugged and raped me," Bowman wrote. "But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it."

A comedy act goes viral

Cosby, she wrote, once pinned her down in his bed in a hotel suite in Atlantic City.

"I furiously tried to wrestle from his grasp until he eventually gave up, angrily called me 'a baby' and sent me home to Denver."

Cosby was never criminally charged.

Bowman said her complaint "didn't seem to take hold" until Buress' performance.

"Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest," Bowman wrote.

A former Temple employee, Andrea Constand, said that in early 2004, Cosby "touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand and digitally penetrated her" after giving her three blue pills at his home.

Constand, a Canadian, reported the incident to police in Ontario a year later; the Montgomery County district attorney decided against filing criminal charges, saying the case was weak.

She sued Cosby in 2005; in legal filings, Cosby denied assaulting her. He acknowledged they were acquaintances who sometimes dined together, alone or with friends.

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This article contains information from the Associated Press.