Bill Cosby RELEASED: Victims Victoria Valentino, Janice Dickinson feel 'kicked in the stomach'
HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA: After a shocking verdict, Bill Cosby was released from prison after his conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania's highest court due to an "unfair trial" on Wednesday, June 30. The event catapults a harrowing, uncertain future for his victims after Cosby, who was convicted in 2018 for a number of serious sex offenses, was freed after serving only two years of a three to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia.
At his suburban house, Cosby, 83, was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee. Instead of expressing regret for the 2004 incident involving the complainant Andrea Constand, the actor promised to serve the entire ten-year sentence.
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I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) June 30, 2021
Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby pic.twitter.com/bxELvJWDe5
Cosby was the first celebrity tried and convicted during the time of #MeToo campaign. In 2015, he was charged after a prosecutor used new evidence to get him arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations ran out. After Wednesday's win, Cosby tweeted a photo of himself thanking his supporters. Here's what his victims have to say.
'Not only disappointing, but of concern'
Andrea Constand was a Temple University women's basketball team administrator when she claims Cosby, whom she considered a mentor, drugged and sexually attacked her in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, home in 2004. "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, according to a report by the CNN.
'Kicked in the stomach'
Janice Dickinson originally accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in 2014, saying that the incident occurred in 1982 at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, under the cover of career assistance. Marty Singer, Cosby's lawyer at the time, with whom the 83-year-old has since split ways had then categorically refuted Dickinson's charges. "I'm angry. I'm angry they let him out over a procedural. That's basically all I have to say," Dickinson told ET. "I can't get into the legalese about it. I can only speak from my heart and say that the statute of limitations is not fair. It's just not fair." She added: "I felt like I was kicked in the stomach, in my abdomen, by some psychic blow."
'I know the truth'
Patricia Leary Steuer, who was 22 at the time of her assault, was working at the University of Massachusetts when he met Cosby after he gave a speech there in 1978. He offered to mentor her and invited her to a dinner party at his Massachusetts home, where Steuer was rudely shocked to find that he had laid a table for two, according to The Cut. He then went on to sexually abuse her on not one but two occasions.
Steuer, now 65, said "There were more than 63 of us who came forward in the end. I'm wondering what the purpose was of the 43 years of this ordeal and the trauma that I had and the trauma that my family endured as a result." She added: "I'm comforted that we did the best we could because we came forward and told the truth. In the end that was the only power we had in this situation. I'm also angry that the laws in the system is devised in such a way that it favors powerful and wealthy people, and in this particular instance, a powerful and wealthy man, and that needs to change."
Steuer added that Cosby's release "is a discouraging message to sexual assault survivors. " I hope it won't because in the end all you can do is come forward and tell the truth." Speaking to CNN, Steuer said: "I know the truth. He’s always maintained, and so has Mrs. Cosby, that this was all consensual. It was not consensual to be drugged and assaulted.”
"I know the truth,” says Bill Cosby accuser Patricia Leary Steuer.— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 1, 2021
“He’s always maintained, and so has Mrs. Cosby, that this was all consensual. It was not consensual to be drugged and assaulted.” https://t.co/a2PMdaie5b pic.twitter.com/GeHV1NuWaX
'Serial predator on the street'
Victoria Valentino accused Cosby of raping her in the 1960s after he joined her and her friend at Café Figaro. Cosby, knowing Valentino had just lost a child, placed a pill next to Valentino's wine glass, telling her to take it. He claimed that it would make her feel better and then offered to take them home after he drugged both women, following which he raped them.
"I am outraged! Outraged! Stunned! 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," she said to CNN. Describing the verdict as a gut punch, Valentino said: "What does that say about a woman's worth? A woman's value? Do our lives mean nothing? All of the lives that he damaged, not to mention our children and how we respond to our children and our personal relationships. He's impacted the lives of well over 60 women." She added: "So here we are, back to square one."
"I am in shock; I am stunned," Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy model who accused Bill Cosby of raping her in 1969, said. "I’m infuriated. I can’t believe that on a little legal glitch that a serial predator would be put back out on the street" https://t.co/mpPAXbMIj5 pic.twitter.com/DrsCBlJ7FV— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 30, 2021
'My stomach is in a knot'
Janice Baker-Kinney bartended at Harrah’s, where Cosby was performing. She swallowed pills given by the disgraced comedian at his pizza party and found herself with him the next morning. “This is between me and you," he had told her. Baker-Kinney told CNN affiliate WPVI-TV that she's still processing the news of Cosby's release. "I am stunned, I am shocked and my stomach is in a knot... One legalese can overturn this when so many people came forward... This serial rapist gets to go home today is just stunning to me," she said. The court on Wednesday ruled that Bill Cosby's case cannot be prosecuted again. "He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred," they said.