Andrea Constand and other Bill Cosby accusers were issued a setback on Saturday when Judge Steven O’Neill declared a mistrial in Constand’s sexual assault case against the comedian.
But the women appear to be remaining hopeful that their accusations will one day lead to consequences for Cosby.
At the trial, Constand was seen as a proxy for the 60 women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by the comedian. Unlike others, Constand’s case was not precluded by statutes of limitations. A former employee of Cosby’s alma mater, she alleges that he drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004.
In a statement issued jointly with her lawyers on Saturday, Constand thanked prosecutors and police who worked on her case.
“We could not begin to name the many people who have worked so diligently in pursuit of justice, not only for Andrea but for all victims of sexual assault,” the statement read.
It continued, “We are confident that these proceedings have given a voice to the many victims who felt powerless and silenced.”
While prosecutors fought to call 13 other accusers to testify against Cosby, only one, Kelly Johnson, was permitted to do so. Still, several other accusers attended the trial. At its conclusion ― after 52 hours of deliberation left a jury of 12 in a deadlock ― they reacted with both sadness and continued determination.
“A woman’s worth was on trial these past two weeks. Society has failed [Andrea Constand] and has failed us,” Cosby accuser Victoria Valentino said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We’re devastated, but the work goes on.”
Linda Kirkpatrick, another accuser, said that Cosby underestimated the dozens of women who have spoken out against him. “He didn’t know we are seeds … uncovering the rape culture in this country,” Kirkpatrick said.
Jewel Allison, yet another accuser, stated outside the courthouse, as church bells tolled, “I think God is watching all of us,” NBC News reported.
Allison doesn’t think the mistrial is the win for Cosby that his spokesperson has declared it to be. “He walked out but the bars were all around him,” she said. “He’s mobile, but the jail goes with him wherever he goes.”
Valentino, Kirkpatrick and Allison all accuse Cosby of drugging and raping them. Their stories are joined by numerous others that, together, “paint a picture of a serial and methodical sexual predator who used his celebrity to exploit women,” HuffPost’s Emma Grey writes.
Gloria Allred, a feminist lawyer who counts dozens of Cosby’s accusers among her clients, issued a warning to the comedian.
Andrea Constand reacts after leaving the courtroom following the fifth day of deliberations in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial in Pennsylvania on Friday.
“It’s too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby,” Allred said at a press conference after the mistrial announcement. “Round two might be just around the corner. And this time, justice may prevail.”
Prosecutors have reportedly expressed their intention to pursue a retrial in Constand’s case.
Read Constand’s full statement from her lawyers below:
On behalf of Andrea Constand and ourselves, we would like to thank the dedicated individuals of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in particular Kevin Steele, Kristen Feden and Stewart Ryan and the many police officers and detectives who worked on this case, in particular Rich Schaffer, Jim Reape and Mike Shade. We wish to thank the Honorable Risa Vetri Ferman, who authorized the prosecution. We could not begin to name the many people who have worked so diligently in pursuit of justice, not only for Andrea but for all victims of sexual assault.
From the moment she revealed what had happened to her, Andrea sought to have this matter addressed in the criminal justice system. Given the manner in which she was dismissed by the previous district attorney, she had no option but to file a civil suit. We are confident that these proceedings have given a voice to the many victims who felt powerless and silenced. We commend those prosecutors who raise awareness that one of the hallmarks of drug-related sexual assaults is the affect the drug has on the victim’s memory and the ability to recall and were nonetheless willing to present this evidence to the jury.
We also wish to thank the jury for their tireless efforts and acknowledge their sacrifice.
Andrea and her family are asking everyone to respect her privacy at this time. Please do not try to contact her or her family.