Bill Cosby is now a free man. A debate about his guilt or innocence rages across America. Was Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling fair and impartial justice?
Please allow Cosby to answer for himself.
“When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” attorney Dolores M. Troiani asked Cosby on Sept. 29, 2005.
“Yes,” Cosby answered during the sworn civil deposition.
Cosby, 83, was convicted in 2018 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. But dozens of women have accused Cosby of drugging and raping them in incidents dating back more than four decades.
Yet Cosby was freed Wednesday, a travesty of justice that allowed defense attorneys to argue that prosecutors used his own testimony, in which he admitted to his criminal wrongdoings, to unlawfully convict him.
“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” the court’s decision read.
Cosby, who spent more than two years in prison, had the money and a team of high-powered attorneys who brilliantly found a loophole. To be sure, prosecutors fumbled this case, but let’s remember the average person doesn’t have the means to navigate the criminal justice system.
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It’s disturbing that so many women who were survivors of his aren’t getting justice – and won’t – because he can’t be recharged. They must just accept that Cosby is back out on the streets. They must accept that there is no recourse for their pain and suffering.
Bill Cosby’s release:For survivors of abuse, it’s ‘very triggering.’
This case will silence those survivors who would otherwise come forward. Allowing Cosby to escape criminal accountability is a slap in the face for every sexual assault survivor. And the chilling effect it will bring, particularly during the #MeToo era, could be felt for decades.
There were years when I wanted Bill Cosby to be my father. Heathcliff Huxtable, the character he played on TV, was funny, loving, packed with wisdom and the epitome of a family man. Decades have passed since then. I’ve seen him saunter in and out of court. I’ve seen him handcuffed and in a prison jumpsuit. I’ve seen him refuse to participate in treatment programs or to acknowledge or apologize for any wrongdoing.
He has shown us who he is, and it’s certainly not “America’s dad.” He’s a criminal who caught a break because of his wealth and power – and because of a procedural error.
Bill Cosby hasn’t been exonerated. He’s been freed on a legal technicality. And he should be shunned until the day he dies.