Fallout Worries Accusers as Cosby Thanks Court

Women wonder whether future victims of predators will come forward
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2021 7:30 PM CDT
Fallout Worries Accusers as Cosby Thanks Court
Andrea Constand, left, embraces prosecutor Kristen Feden during a news conference after Cosby was found guilty in his sexual assault retrial in 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Women who accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them expressed shock Wednesday at the ruling that freed him from prison—and worry about the effect on future victims. "My stomach is in knots," said Victoria Valentino, who accused Cosby of raping her in the 1960s. "The work that we have done to uplift women has been overturned by a legal glitch." Andrea Constand, who told a court that Cosby assaulted her in 2004, said victims might have to choose between assisting a criminal prosecution and filing a civil action, CNN reports. Janice Baker-Kinney, who accused Cosby of raping her in the 1980s, said she was stunned that "one legalese can overturn this when so many people came forward." Several of the women said they took some comfort in the fact that Cosby was sent to prison for a time, at least. Cosby, 83, was back home outside Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, per the New York Times. The court's opinion can be read here.

Cosby tweeted his thanks Wednesday night to those who stood by him during his prosecution and repeated his claim of innocence. "I have never changed my stance nor my story," he posted, adding, "Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law." One person who stood by him, longtime costar Phylicia Rashad, had to go back online after her celebratory tweet drew a backlash. Her first tweet had said, "A miscarriage of justice is corrected!" Much of the reaction was out of sight, only open to people Rashad follows, per Deadline. But more than 10,000 retweets with commentary hit the internet within the first hour. "What a shameful thing to post," one commentator posted on Deadline, pointing out that Rashad was just hired as dean of Howard University's College of Fine Arts. "How is any female student there supposed to come forward." Rashad's followup said: "I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth." (More Bill Cosby stories.)

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