Cosby’s trial marks a major criminal conviction of the #MeToo era.
Bill Cosby is being held accountable after decades of reports of him wielding his position and power to sexually assault women.
After 12 hours of deliberation, a jury in Pennsylvania found Cosby, 80, guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each count. The verdict comes after a two-week retrial of a 2017 case that ended in a mistrial.
Over the past few years, more than 50 women have gone public with allegations that Cosby drugged and molested them. The earliest claims stem back to the 1960s.
Cosby was found guilty of assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who worked as the director of operations for the women’s basketball team. In 2004, Cosby was visiting her home in suburban Pennsylvania home when he gave her three pills, claiming they would relieve her stress. The pills caused Constand to become confused and weak.
“I felt Mr. Cosby on the couch behind me, and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully, and I felt my breasts being touched,” Constand testified. “I wanted it to stop,” she said. “I couldn’t say anything. I was trying to get my hands to move, my legs to move, and the message just wasn’t getting there.”
In addition to Constand, another accuser took the stand to establish a pattern of abuse by Cosby in the 2017 trial. But in the retrial, five of Cosby’s accusers told similar stories of being drugged and raped. It was also revealed during the trial that, in 2006, Cosby reached a settlement with Constand for $3.4 million.
While dozens of women have accused Cosby of abuse, Constand was the only one whose allegations were within the statute of limitations.
Cosby’s trial marks a major criminal conviction of the #MeToo movement.
Over the past two years, countless people have come out to publicly denounce men in positions of power — particularly in the entertainment industry — who have used their influence to abuse and then silence their victims.
The movement has helped create a sea change in the public’s view of sexual abuse and may cause more powerful men to be held accountable for their actions.