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Vera House Releases Statement on Overturned Conviction in Bill Cosby Case

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction. The court found an earlier prosecutor had promised not to bring criminal charges against Cosby in exchange for Cosby testifying in a civil court case. The court said that promise barred the later prosecutor from bringing the charges that led to Cosby’s 2018 conviction.  

Despite 60 women sharing their truths that Cosby sexually assaulted them, he was released from prison the same day. He had served nearly three years of a three- to 10-year sentence. 

Survivor Andrea Constand, whose testimony helped convict Cosby, said she feared Cosby’s release would prevent other survivors from coming forward. 

“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 participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action,” she said in a statement

This is a prime example of a failed system. When felons with no wealth are convicted, their representation often wipes their hands clean of the case and takes no further action. When felons with wealth and power are convicted, their cash flow is continuous—seeking loopholes, pressuring the prosecution, and pursuing appeal after appeal.  

Having flashbacks of a sexual assault lasts a lifetime for survivors. The impact of having to fill in the blanks because one was drugged during the assault, and not knowing what the assailant was doing to your unconscious body, your temple, lasts a lifetime.  

Cosby refusing to attend mandatory counseling for sexual predators, which he is, sends a clear message to survivors of sexual violence everywhere that men in power continue to get away with abuse.  

There’s a common myth that those who commit sexual violence are strangers to the victim. That is not true. Eighty percent of victims know their assailant. Cosby was an icon, dubbed “America’s dad.” He portrayed a loving, gentle, violence-free, curse-word-free, lighthearted and principle-based family man.  

These are the people who are committing violence—the ones we know, love, and trust. It’s a sad day for survivors everywhere, and yet another setback in the fight to end gender-based violence. 

Survivors, you have done nothing wrong. Your voice was heard loudly. We stand by you. If you would like to talk or receive support, please call our 24-hour line at (315) 468-3260 or message us through our support live web chat