- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Malcolm-Jamal Warner says it’s difficult to see Bill Cosby face allegations of sexual assault.

Warner, who played Cosby’s son Theo in the hit 1984-1992 sitcom “The Cosby Show,” told Billboard magazine that the comedian has been an important mentor and friend to him.

The 44-year-old Warner didn’t directly address the allegations made by at least 15 women, citing a lack of first-hand knowledge.

But he said that it’s as painful to watch Cosby face the allegations as it is to hear any woman talk about sexual assault, “whether true or not.”

“The Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people. What he’s done for comedy and television has been legendary and history-making,” Warner said. “What he’s done for the black community and education has been invaluable. That’s the Bill Cosby I know.”

Cosby, 77, has not been charged with a crime and through his attorney has denied allegations, some of them dating back decades, that he drugged and assaulted women.

The Billboard interview with Warner, a Grammy nominee for his work on Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio 2,” was published online Wednesday.

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