Serial rapist, disgraced comedian, and actor Bill Cosby has been released from prison today. Do we sound angry? The Reel 360 Team is.
His conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ending over two years of prison time of his three to 10-year sentence.
The court cited testimony that was allowed to take place during Cosby’s retrial in 2018 from his previous victims in order to establish that he had engaged in a pattern of sexual predation as well as broken promises by the prosecuting attorney regarding his incriminating 2005 testimony, where he admitted to obtaining quaaludes specifically for drugging women with intent to have sex with them.
The court cited actions by prosecuting attorney Bruce Castor, who led the defense in the second impeachment trial of disgraced, one-term president Donald Trump. Castor reportedly promised not to charge Cosby in the sexual assault case in exchange for cooperation in another trial, but then used his statements in relation to that trial to later charge and have him arrested just days before the statute of limitations on the crime expired.
83-year-old Cosby has served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia.
He had vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand. In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison.
In her full victim impact statement read at the 2018 sentencing, Constand said, “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit, and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.”
She continued: “It all feels like a step in the right direction: away from a very dark and lonely place, toward the person I was before all this happened. Instead of looking back, I am looking forward to looking forward. I want to get to the place where the person I was meant to be gets a second chance.”
More than 60 women have accused the comedian of everything from sexual misconduct to rape, often with the use of incapacitating drugs. Several of those women allege Cosby used cappuccino, soft drinks, wine or other beverages as vehicles to drug them, but accusers Constand, Serignese, Janice Dickinson, Tamara Green, Victoria Valentino, Donna Motsinger and a woman identified only as Chelan have alleged Cosby gave them capsules or pills before assaulting them.
Unfortunately, the closure these women have been feeling for the past 2+ years is violently being ripped from them by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Twitter exploded with shock and support for the victims.
Instead of supporting the 60+ victims of sexual assault, former co-star and friend, Howard University Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Phylicia Rashad, used her platform to show support for Cosby.
She has since shut down replies to her tweet after the storm of angry twitter users went on full attack against the rape apologist.
Advocates for sexual assault victims fear that this overturning of an iconic #MeToo case conviction will contribute yet further to the reluctance of these victims to come forward, especially in the case of celebrity men and especially when the victims are Black women.
In other news Louis C.K. is still performing on stage, James Franco will be paying $2,235,000 to make a 2019 sexual misconduct lawsuit go away, and Amazon just quietly released Woody Allen’s latest film.
There is an unsettling amount of cultural amnesia that happens with these sorts of sexual misconduct crimes.
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.