criminal justice Julia Conley Justice Rights

Advocates Stand With Bill Cosby’s 60 Accusers After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned

The justices at Pennsylvania's Supreme Court also ruled out the possibility that Cosby could be retried in that state.
Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby makes a public appearance in 2011. (The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia / Wikimedia Commons)

By Julia Conley / Common Dreams

Women’s rights advocates expressed solidarity on Wednesday with the 60 women who came forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Bill Cosby after the actor’s conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The seven-judge panel ruled that Cosby should not have been convicted in 2018 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault of his former mentee, Andrea Constand, due to a “non-prosecution agreement” he had reached earlier with a former prosecutor. 

Cosby struck an agreement—of which there is no written record, according to the Associated Press—in 2005 with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. As he was being investigated for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, Castor gave Cosby an assurance that he would not be prosecuted if he testified in a civil case brought by Constand.

The assurance led Cosby to testify that he had given quaaludes to women in order to rape them—a testimony that was used by Castor’s successor to charge Cosby in 2015, days before the statute of limitations expired in Constand’s case. 

“In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successor D.A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights,” the state’s high court said in its ruling. 

The ruling will allow Cosby to leave the maximum-security facility where he’s been imprisoned after serving nearly three years of his three-to-10 year sentence. The justices barred prosecutors from attempting to retry the case in Pennsylvania. 

The anti-sexual assault campaign No More was among those expressing support for dozens of survivors who came forward to accuse Cosby of a pattern of abuse and violence that was exemplified by Constand’s case. 

Temple University professor and author Marc Lamont Hill emphasized that the court’s decision did not exonerate Cosby, but rather revealed the inner workings of an unjust legal system.

Josie Duffy Rice, former president of criminal justice publication The Appealblamed “prosecutorial misconduct” for the outcome of Cosby’s case, in which the former TV star vowed to serve all 10 years of his sentence rather than express remorse or admit wrongdoing despite his earlier admission that he had drugged and raped women. 

A number of observers linked the ruling to the fact that more than two-thirds of sexual assaults are never reported to the police, with survivors reticent to try to convince law enforcement, the court system, and in cases like Cosby’s, the broader public, that their experience really happened.

“We stand with all 60 survivors of Cosby’s actions, who bravely came forward with their experiences, which include being drugged, raped, assaulted, threatened, and gaslighted, only to find their abuser let off the hook,” said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of women’s advocacy group UltraViolet. “Today is a blow to survivors everywhere, who deserve so much better than this.”

19 comments

  1. Hollywood is a whorehouse, and so are all the television producers and actors involved in explicit sexual activities. Cosby is a famous star, and like all those politicians, including Rump, who have been on Epstein’s island and never get convicted as there is no justice in America, only people like myself and Assange serve time, and for speaking truth, not for heinous crimes like Cosby. Furthermore, I have read his book, to the best of my memory named “come on, people” and it is a derogatory chastisement of blacks, and should never have made print.. It is a book full of condescension and reaks of having no connection to the black community. Like Obama, he is an oreo. He exemplifies all that is wrong with America, where evil is rewarded and heroism is condemned.

    1. The man is an admitted rapist. And. He walks. As for the other sexual abusers and rapists, not prosecuted – point taken, but Cosby, Black or not is guilty. And. It was HIS high dollar lawyers that ‘feed’ him from incarceration.

  2. I still say funny how trump, biden, charlie sheen, Justin fvckin’ beiber, plenty of high profile white guys who each have boatloads of accusers each & yet ain’t noone saying shxt, ruining high dollar crackah ass honkeys’ careers. Dave Chappelle was right about put a Brother in a dress if he starts making too much money & people listening to him. I was alive when this country went apeshxt about OJ yet nobody says shxit about jamie dimon, loyd blankfein, etc. Nah I ain’t allowing this 🐂💩. Mike Franti was correct: hypocrisy is the greatest luxury, raise the double standard. Signed: born, raised, spent my entire life deepinthehearta the south pinche bolillo. Right now is intl. child sex trafficking, organ trafficking, trillions hidden in offshore accounts while we squabble distracted in Roman coliseum bread & circuses JUST LIKE WE WERE TOLD TO.

  3. there is something wrong with a legal system when a perpetrator is guilty of the crimes he is accused of but can be freed from the consequences on a legal technicality.
    This is a travesty of justice.

    1. It’s not a “technicality.” It was a serious bit of misconduct on the part of the prosecution. So serious that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Cosby cannot be criminally charged again. The civil suits of course can go forward. Go to the WSWS and read their article on this matter

      1. TimN,

        Exactly how does one prove the contents of a contract that was never recorded?

  4. Have money, lots, will go free. Two tier (un) justice system at work. Now. Plan on the federal judge in NY to
    soon grant immunity to the Sackler family from liability for their evil machinations boosting their sales of opiods at the risk of thousands of lives…and then we have the rigged trial of attorney Steven Donziger for winning a big suit against Chevron for their horrendous damage to the environment in Ecuador. Chevron is doing everything they can with all their money to destroy Donziger. And – then we have Agent Chaos who used his presidential office for personal gain. Oh, yes, then there’s the Dept of Justice – Biden’s – siding with Agent Chaos before the Supreme Court in the allegations of rape in Carroll v. Trump.

    1. It wasn’t Cosby’s money that got him out. It was the prosecutor’s misconduct. This kind of thing–the denial of due process– happens to poor people every day in courts. Its true they don’t have the resources of Cosby, but that doesn’t mean that Cosby’s rights get abrogated because he’s rich.

  5. WHAT?!?! There is NO WRITTEN RECORD of this SHADY agreement?! That doesn’t sound like the feds to me! At least when Alex Acosta gave Jeffrey Epstein the “wink-wink of what can only be described as underlying approval (envy perhaps?) of his aberrant behavior, the agreement was on the record! As for the DOJ’s review of Acosta’s merely showing “poor judgment “ in the Epstein case, that’s nothing more or less than pure, unadulterated bullshit! Too bad castration was never on the table!

    1. It’s not relevant that there’s allegedly no written agreement. Both parties agree that the agreement was made, despite the fact that the prosecutor looks like a fool and crook for agreeing to not charge Cosby and then his replacement, knowing about the agreement, went ahead and did it anyways. They thought that they would get away with it, but they didn’t. You want to blame somebody? Blame the prosecutors.

  6. Just as Hedges has stated, our disintegrating system continues to allow sadists to get away their crimes.

  7. I encourage women, collectively, to refrain from any and all interactions with the male of the species, that could be even remotely interpreted as showing any inclination towards any sexual contact with said males.
    Leave all of us men to get our sexual gratification without women.
    Maybe then, the ethical members of the male Homo sapiens will Stuart checking the b*llsh*t of their brethren.
    As far as the hypocrites in the black dresses go, castration sounds appropriate to me.
    Enough of this crap.
    One mothers, and daughters, and granddaughters, and grandmothers, and women friends have endured this barbarity for way to long.
    Trust Women.

  8. Of our living Presidents, Clinton, Trump and Biden have all been credibly accused of rape/ sexual assault (Bush II and Obama were accused of homosexuality). Michael Jackson was an unpunished child molester! How many went to Epstein’s Island to rape children? Our politicians joke about sex trafficking; it is pervasive and ACCEPTED.
    At least Cosby did serve SOME time and was exposed as a sex predator, much more than most of our Elites.

    1. michael888,

      Do you believe everything you read online… or do you require evidence to support your conclusions?

      1. Ha Ha! Yes, I often disagree with the Official Narrative. I view mainstream media as largely CIA stenographers, thanks to the abolition (“modernization”) of the Smith Mundt Act against domestic propaganda.
        I don’t believe Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide.
        I don’t believe Bill Clinton’s claims that he had never been to Epstein’s Island and that he had “only” flown on Epstein’s plane four times.
        I don’t believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
        I don’t believe the OPCW’s official version that Assad gassed his own people in Douma.
        I don’t believe that there was any REAL evidence for Russiagate, nor that Trump, Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein and Bernie were Russian assets. All just OFFICIAL partisan politics which DC loves!
        I don’t believe Assange made up anything he published.
        And in my area of expertise as a scientist, I DO believe Covid-19 MAY have come from a lab, in contrast to the Official Narrative “Covid-19 DID NOT come from a lab!”. Like most scientists, I had posts, comments and messages censored as Medical Disinformation for a year while evidence was available the whole time (and INTENTIONALLY ignored). At least the authorities FINALLY reversed their stance and now admit Covid-19 MIGHT have come out of a lab.
        You believe authorities, I don’t trust them.

    2. Cosby is still going to get hammered in civil suits, is he not? There’s that at least. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made the correct decision on this, actually. Despite the heinous criminality of Cosby’s crimes, his due process rights were trampled. The court was very clear on that. The prosecution knowingly wronged Cosby, likely thinking the very public nature of the event would allow them to do what they routinely do to lesser people, and that’s deny due process. They were wrong. Cosby”s lawyers were screaming about the due process denial from the get go, and they were belittled. Turns out their complaints were justified.

      1. TimN,

        Once again… how does one prove the contents of a contract that was never recorded?

        To accept into evidence a non-existent contract purely because the parties are (now) in agreement regarding the substance, fails to eliminate all possibilities of inducement and/or coercion, right?

        To laud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seems a bit premature, especially when such praise sits astride massive assumptions regarding the original intent of the prosecution (speculation in which you also appear to indulge). But more importantly, if one is truly believes proof of prosecutorial misconduct in the past has been established… then any further statement made by the prosecution regarding this case would be irrevocably lacking in credibility. And yet the court accepts it, as do you.

        Please remember, this is the same state that allowed uninterrupted kickbacks to multiple judges, who intentionally steered thousands of minors into private corrections facilities for almost 5 years. The only reason these monsters were removed from the bench, was because of a U.S. Attorney!

    3. michael888,

      Actual evidence does not require validation by either mainstream media or government officials.

      Whether or not such evidence is actively censored by private media platforms is another issue entirely.

      I am always open to verifiable evidence which could confirm a litany of professed beliefs such as yours.

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