Andrea Constand: What we know about Bill Cosby's Canadian complainant

Little is known about Andrea Constand, the Canadian who a decade ago accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her. But her lawsuit essentially opened the gates for a growing number of complainants to come forward.

Cosby has been charged with sexual assault

Andrea Constand, 42, walks her dogs in Toronto on Dec. 30, 2015. The former basketball player and coach has accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

For years, there have been allegations that comedian Bill Cosby had sexually assaulted women.

Now, for the first time, there is a warrant for his arrest.

The charge of aggravated indecent assault, filed on Wednesday, relates to an incident at Cosby's mansion in suburban Philadelphia in 2004 involving a woman named Andrea Constand.

Constand was an employee at Temple University at the time, and now works as a massage therapist in Toronto.

She went to police in 2005, well after the incident, alleging Cosby had fed her drugs at his home that rendered her semi-conscious. She said she later woke in the wee hours of the morning with her clothes askew.

But Montgomery County prosecutors initially declined to charge Cosby, saying there was not enough evidence.

Constand then brought a civil suit against Cosby, lining up more than a dozen women as supporting witnesses. It was settled in 2006 for an undisclosed amount, and a portion of the sworn deposition that Cosby gave in the case was made public earlier this year.

Comedian Bill Cosby is scheduled to perform in Kitchener tomorrow night, London on Thursday and Hamilton on Friday. (Victoria Will/Invision/Associated Press)

That led current Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman to overrule her predecessor and bring the charge on Wednesday, setting the stage for what is likely to be a huge celebrity trial.

Little is known about Cosby's Canadian complainant. A confidential settlement reached as a result of a lawsuit against the embattled entertainer effectively silenced her.

But it was Constand's case from a decade ago that essentially opened the gates for a growing number of complainants to allege the septuagenarian entertainer drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Here's a look at what is known about Constand. 

From Canada to Cosby

Andrea Constand was a standout basketball player at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute in Toronto in the 1980s and dreamed of becoming the first Canadian to play in the Women's National Basketball Association, the WNBA.

A sports scholarship to study and play basketball at the University of Arizona in Tucson got her over the border and in front of a who's who of women's basketball in the U.S.

Instead of making the WNBA, however, Constand was recruited by a European team after being spotted playing with Canada's squad during the World University Games in Sicily, Italy, in 1997.

The stint didn't last long. After 18 months playing basketball in Europe, Constand was back in Ontario, working in a Nike store, finishing her studies and hoping for another shot at the WNBA. 

Her next recruitment, however, would bring her back to the U.S., back to basketball and into Bill Cosby's orbit.

Temple calling

In 1999, Dawn StaleyConstand's friend and a former WNBA player, was hired as the new head coach of women's basketball at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater.

Model Janice Dickinson is one of more than 50 women who have alleged that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for VITY)

Staley asked Constand to join her, taking on the responsibility of director of operations for the women's team.

It was at Temple that Constand met Cosby.

The comedian attended the school in the 1960s, where he played basketball and was a member of the track team. He remained closely connected to Temple, often raising money for its athletics programs.

In court filings, Constand and Cosby agree they often met for dinner either alone or at his home where they discussed basketball, her career and other opportunities.

In January 2004, Constand says Cosby invited her to his Cheltenham home, just outside Philadelphia.​

According to Constand's lawsuit, Cosby told her he wanted to "offer her assistance in pursuit of a different career." It was that night that he allegedly fed Constand pills and sexually assaulted her.

Four months later, she quit her job with Temple women's basketball and headed home to Canada to study massage therapy.

One year after the alleged incident, Constand went to police, filing a claim against Cosby with Durham Regional Police in Ontario, who passed it on to authorities in Cheltenham Township, Pa. 

In the end, prosecutors did not lay charges against Cosby, who reached a confidential settlement agreement with Constand in 2006.

Back in Canada

Now 42, Constand is a registered massage therapist working in a downtown Toronto clinic. She also provides massage therapy services by private appointment through her web site, Medical Massage Therapy Centre.

Thirty-five women who have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them appeared on the cover of New York Magazine for the July 27 issue. (Amanda Demme/New York Magazine)

When reached by Toronto Sun reporter Joe Warmington in July, Constand reportedly declined to discuss Cosby, telling Warmington, "I know I did not give you much of a story and yet there is so much more to say."

This summer, Cosby's lawyers filed court documents to block any attempt by Constand to publicly reveal the terms of their contract. 

Cosby's deposition in the case, however, was made public earlier this year. In it, Cosby denied sexually assaulting Constand, but admitted to giving her three half-pills of Benadryl.

He also said he had gotten Quaaludes from his doctor to give to young women before sex years earlier. However, he said those sexual relations were consensual and he never gave women drugs without their knowledge.

In a striking show of solidarity, 35 women who have all said Cosby sexual assaulted them appeared on the cover of New York magazine in July.

Constand wasn't one of them, but her part in the story was represented on the cover by an empty chair.

This fall, her attorney, Dolores Troiani, told People magazine that Constand is ready to face Cosby in court.

"She's a very strong lady," Troiani said. "She'll do whatever she needs to do, whatever they request of her."