Bill Cosby's Upcoming Sex Assault Trial Has Its Roots in Denver

Yesterday, a  judge in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania determined that there is enough evidence for actor/comedian Bill Cosby to be put on trial for alleged sex crimes against onetime Temple University women's basketball official Andrea Constand.

But while this drama is playing out across the country, Cosby's current legal troubles can be traced in part to the abuse allegedly suffered by a former Coloradan, Barbara Bowman, at a well-remembered nightclub in Denver.

And Bowman isn't the only Coloradan to accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

While reporting about Bowman's assertions circa October 2014, we noted that in 2006, Cosby had settled a lawsuit filed by Constand, who said he'd drugged and sexually assaulted her two years earlier. In a U.K. Mail story, Bowman said she was prepared to testify in the civil trial against Cosby before the matter was dropped.

But years later, Bowman decided to publicly describe a similar tale of abuse at the hands of the entertainer that took place at a Denver nightclub called Turn of the Century.

The venue, located at 7300 East Hampden, was among the toniest of its day, attracting some of the biggest names in live entertainment. That's where Bowman said she met Cosby circa 1985, when she was a seventeen-year-old student and aspiring actress. Here's an excerpt from the U.K. Mail piece:

"I was studying acting when my agent told me Mr Cosby was scouting for young talent and that I'd have a shot to be groomed by him personally. I was eager to please. This could be my big break.

"The first thing Mr. Cosby said when he met me in the conference room was, "I want you to go in the bathroom and wet your hair...then sit in this chair, shut your eyes and do an improvisation exercise with me."

"He wanted me to act completely drunk, wasted, while he stood behind me and stroked my neck and upper chest. He didn't touch me beyond that, on that day, but that's where it certainly started."
After that, Bowman maintained, Cosby made it a point to meet with her whenever he was in Denver, where she was raised from age nine, and flew her and family members around the country, including to New York City to see Broadway shows.

But according to her, he was less interested in helping her achieve her acting dreams than in hotel-room rendezvous and other encounters that she characterizes as sexually and emotionally abusive.

One time, she told the paper, she was sure she was given a drugged glass of wine and feared she was sexually assaulted while incapacitated.

On another occasion, she said, Cosby threw her down on a bed and seemed ready to rape her, only to stop in the face of her continual screaming.

Cosby has consistently denied sexual-abuse accusations leveled against him

Today, Bowman is an artist living in Scottsdale, Arizona. But her allegations made headlines across the globe and inspired many more women who described themselves as Cosby victims to come forward — including Colorado's Heidi Thomas, who says Cosby assaulted her when she was 24.

Last December, the firestorm over Cosby's alleged behavior set the stage for officials in Pennsylvania to charge the comic with three criminal counts, including aggravated indecent assault, in the Constand incident. The case is expected to be heard in July.

At this writing, Bowman hasn't shared a statement about Cosby's upcoming trial on either Facebook or Twitter.

But Thomas has weighed in with a number of media outlets. She told 7News, "Somewhere in his heart of hearts, he knows right from wrong, and he needs to be held accountable."

Continue to see Cosby's booking photo, followed by the 7News piece.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts