President Obama on Wednesday weighed in on the Bill Cosby scandal, declaring that drugging a woman for sex without her consent amounts to rape.

Obama declined to speak specifically about the charges against Cosby, 78, from a growing number of women who said he sexually abused them during his long reign as one of the country's most famous entertainers.

But during a news conference at the White House, the president said that "if you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, without his or her knowledge a drug and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape."

Obama's remarks came after he was asked by a reporter whether he would consider revoking the Medal of Freedom from Cosby, who was awarded the honor in 2002. The president said there is "no precedent for revoking a medal. We don't have that mechanism."

The medal is considered the nation's highest civilian honor. In 2013, recipients included former President Bill Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and former Washington Post editor Benjamin Bradlee, who died last year.

Cosby acknowledged in a 2005 court deposition that he intended to give drugs to young women with whom he wanted to have sex.

Cosby’s admission that he obtained Quaaludes to use on women was contained in a 10-year-old deposition given by the legendary comedian in a civil lawsuit filed by a Philadelphia woman who claimed he had molested her after surreptitiously drugging her. Some of the proceedings in the case were unsealed for the first time last week.

Documents containing excerpts of the deposition, first obtained by the Associated Press, appear to support one element of the repeated allegations of sexual assault lodged against Cosby, some of which date to the late 1960s. More than a dozen women have said Cosby sexually assaulted them after they were rendered unconscious or incapacitated by unknown substances.

A victims rights group that launched a campaign calling on Obama to revoke Cosby's Medal of Freedom responded to the president's remarks by stating that the White House must take action to "send a message to the youth of America."

"That this is an unprecedented action is beside the point," Angela Rose, executive director of Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment, said in a statement. "We need to show zero tolerance for sexual assault."

Obama had previously been asked about the allegations against Cosby during an interview with Univision in December. At that time, he also declined to directly address the claims, but said his administration is focused on "changing minds and culture not only to make it safe for those who have been assaulted to come forward, but to also change the mindset of men particularly our young men who are coming up so they understand no means no.”