Bill Cosby Charged with Felony Sexual Assault

12/30/2015 7:14 AM PST

Bill Cosby -- Charged with Felony Sexual Assault

Breaking News

8:17 AM PT -- Attorneys for Andrea Constand released a statement thanking the Montgomery District Attorney's office, County Detectives and the Cheltenham Police Department for their "consideration and courtesy." They added, "In that this matter is now being pursued in the criminal justice system, we will not comment further."

Bill Cosby has just been charged with felony sexual assault ... technically called aggravated indecent assault.

The charges stem from Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, who claims in 2004 Cosby drugged and assaulted her while she was working as the operations manager for the women's basketball team.

Montgomery County authorities investigated her claims, but eventually rejected the case ... citing a lack of evidence.

Constand sued Cosby in 2005 and settled the case a year later.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman reopened the investigation this summer after more than 50 women came forward with similar accusations. The D.A. said the charges were based on new evidence.

The D.A. says Cosby gave Constand pills and wine that rendered her unable to consent to sexual contact with Cosby ... something the D.A. says she rejected twice in the past.

Under Pennsylvania's 12-year statute of limitations for felony sex crimes, Ferman's office had until January to file a case based on Constand's claims.

If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison.