Despite being accused by 60 women of sexual assault, comic Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction has been overturned, and he has returned home after serving only two years of his 3-to-10 year prison sentence. Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting an employee of his alma mater, Temple University, at his suburban Pennsylvania estate in 2015, though he continued denying any wrongdoing. The Philadelphia Supreme Court has now reportedly found that Cosby had an agreement with a previous prosecutor that should have prevented him from being charged in the case. It also found that some of the testimony in the trial was irrelevant and may have "tainted" the legal proceedings.
Following this new development, some of the women who accused Cosby of sexual assault are speaking out. "My stomach is lurching and I'm deeply distressed at the injustice of the whole thing," accuser Victoria Valentino told ABC News when she learned that the court had overturned Cosby's conviction. "He's a sociopath. He's a serial rapist. This is a man who has no conscience, he has no sense of remorse."
"'m shocked," accuser Janice Baker Kinney said. "Just one little legalese can overturn this when so many people came forward, so many women have told their truths." Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented three of Cosby's accusers, including Janice Dickinson, expressed her frustration online. "The 3 Bill Cosby accusers I represent and I are disgusted that he is a free man today," she tweeted. "He is not released because he is innocent. He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time."
"Every day I fight for sexual assault victims and have to advise them of the ugly truth: the system still massively favors the rich and powerful," Bloom continued. "You need a superhuman level of strength and courage. Luckily many victims have it. Any other Cosby victims, time to come forward!"
Sammie Mays, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in the 1980s, told TMZ that his release is "disrespectful and despicable" for Andrea Constand, the accuser in his trial, and that The Cosby Show actor was not reformed and unrepentant. "I'm surprised and shocked with today's news of Cosby's release," Angela Leslie, another accuser, told TMZ. "It seems the justice system served the criminal, in this case, as opposed to the victims. At this point, I just hope that he took time to reflect on the pain and anguish his actions caused so many women. And, also puts in the work towards becoming a better person."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.