In what one survivor called “a victory for womanhood,” a jury in Pennsylvania found 80-year-old comedian and “violent assaulter” Bill Cosby guilty of three sexual assault felonies on Thursday.
“I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” Lili Bernard told reporters while stepping out of the courthouse. The verdict, she said, is “a victory for all sexual assault survivors, female and male. It’s a victory for womanhood.”
“I thank the jurors so much for positioning themselves on the right side of history,” Bernard added through tears.
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While the slew of sexual assault allegations women have levied against Cosby preceded the rise of the #MeToo movement, the case decided on Thursday, as Anna North at Vox noted, “could be the closest we’ll get to a controlled experiment on the power” of the movement.
“This is a notice to sexual predators everywhere… Enough is enough.”
—Toni Van Pelt, NOW
“This is a notice to sexual predators everywhere. No matter your position in life, our society will not tolerate such violent behavior anymore. Enough is enough,” responded Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
This trial centered on Andrea Constand, a former employee at Temple University—Cosby’s alma mater—who alleged that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004. Thursday’s guilty verdict came after a trial last summer that ended with a deadlocked jury and a civil case that was settled in 2005.
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