‘Disgusted’ And ‘Outraged’: Women Who Accused Bill Cosby Stunned By Release

‘Disgusted’ And ‘Outraged’: Women Who Accused Bill Cosby Stunned By Release

07/02/2021

Several women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault said they were shocked, outraged and disappointed following a court ruling that freed the actor from prison on Wednesday, a blow to one of the highest-profile cases of the Me Too era.

Cosby, 83, was released from prison on Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction for aggravated indecent assault, saying the district attorney who prosecuted the case was obligated to stand by a predecessor’s promise not to charge the comedian. Cosby had served about three years of a three- to 10-year prison sentence. 

More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or misconduct spanning decades. Many of those events, however, are outside statutes of limitations — meaning he is unlikely to be prosecuted again.

Andrea Constand, the main figure in the 2018 criminal case, said Wednesday she was disappointed by Cosby’s release, adding that the decision could dissuade other women from coming forward with details of their own assaults.

Cosby was found guilty of drugging and violating Constand, a Temple University sports administrator, at his home in Philadelphia in 2014. 

“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participation in the prosecutions of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action,” Constand said in a statement with her attorneys.

(Cosby said shortly after his release that he was thankful to the Pennsylvania courts for “upholding the rule of law,” saying he had “always maintained my innocence.”)

Victoria Valentino, who accused Cosby of raping her in the 1960s, said her stomach was “lurching” and that his release was a deep injustice. 

“I am outraged! Outraged! Stunned!” she told CNN. “My stomach is in knots. The work that we have done to uplift women has been overturned by a legal glitch. We now have a serial predator on the street.”

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represented three women who accused Cosby of sexual assault, said they were “disgusted” that he is now a free man. 

“He is not released because he is innocent,” Bloom tweeted Wednesday. “He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time.”

Patricia Steuer, who claims Cosby drugged and assaulted her in two separate incidents in 1978 and 1980, told The New York Times she was “a little stunned” by the ruling.

“I’m feeling sad because this is absolutely a perceived loss on my part,” Steuer told the publication. “I’m wondering what the 43-year ordeal that I went through was supposed to be about.”

Gloria Allred, the attorney who represented many of Cosby’s accusers, said she felt for those who came forward with allegations only to see the man freed.

“Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, this was an important fight for justice,” Allred said in a statement. “Even though the court overturned the conviction on technical grounds, it did not vindicate Bill Cosby’s conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused.”

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Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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