Despite the Cosby Ruling, Andrea Constand Feels Like a ‘Symbol of Hope’

The name got here simply earlier than midday.

Andrea Constand had returned to her downtown Toronto residence after strolling her canine Maddy in a close by park, when the Montgomery County district lawyer’s workplace rang. Stand by, she was informed, a ruling on Bill Cosby’s enchantment might be handed down quickly by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

By this present day, June 30, Constand, the lady whose account of sexual assault had led to the conviction of the man as soon as often called America’s Dad was discovering methods to maneuver previous the trauma that the trial had delivered to her day by day life. She had offered her residence, was transferring to the countryside north of the metropolis and making ready to publish a memoir, “The Moment,” to element her singular expertise with Cosby and the prison justice system.

Though greater than 50 ladies had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, together with assault, prosecutors had — for a selection of causes — solely efficiently introduced prison prices in her case. And now Cosby was in jail distant, serving a three- to 10-year sentence in Pennsylvania after having been discovered responsible of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

He had already misplaced an enchantment. The mud as soon as kicked up by the trial, by the verdict, by the media consideration, by the deal with her case as a breakthrough “moment” for the #MeToo period, had largely settled.

About an hour later, the telephone rang once more.

“Andrea,” stated Kate Delano, the district lawyer’s director of communications, “the Supreme Court has vacated his conviction.”

It is probably an understatement to say that for Constand, and lots of others, the choice got here as a shock. Cosby wouldn’t solely be freed: The courtroom additionally dominated he couldn’t be tried once more. Constand stated she discovered it deeply unsettling that Cosby, nonetheless a man of means and affect, was out of jail, unconstrained and in a position to contact her and others.

“I had a lump in my throat,” Constand, 48, stated in a uncommon in-depth interview final month close to her new residence north of Toronto. “I really felt they were setting a predator loose and that made me sick.”

Bill Cosby together with his attorneys outdoors his residence in a Philadelphia suburb after being launched from jail.Credit…Mark Makela/Reuters

Constand’s response to the courtroom choice and her lengthy expertise with the case are detailed in the memoir, which is to be launched Tuesday.

Within minutes of the second name, Constand drove off, heading together with her 22-year-old niece to her sister’s residence outdoors Toronto, a journey that had been deliberate earlier than the afternoon turned untethered by the ruling. From the automobile, she spoke by telephone with the two former prosecutors who had helped lead the case towards Cosby, Stewart Ryan and Kristen Gibbons Feden. They defined that Cosby would not be formally designated as a sexually violent predator, a standing that requires lifetime public registration and group notification — one thing that had afforded Constand particular consolation.

Andrea Constand stated she has no regrets about pursing the case, regardless of the courtroom’s choice. “Society paid attention,” she stated. Credit…Angela Lewis for The New York Times

At her sister’s home, she watched on tv as Cosby acquired out of a automobile at his residence close to Philadelphia, the mansion the place, she had testified, Cosby assaulted her after giving her a sedative in 2004. From her sister’s again porch, she labored over the telephone together with her two attorneys, Bebe H. Kivitz and Dolores M. Troiani, to place out a assertion expressing their disappointment.

Her telephone was in any other case blowing up with calls from pals and different ladies who had accused Cosby of sexual assault. Kevin R. Steele, the district lawyer who had overseen the prosecution, had referred to as earlier to say the choice didn’t take away from what she had achieved.

Still she nervous, she stated, that different ladies would possibly discover it too arduous to return ahead now. “It was not just me,” she stated, “it was the message that it would send to the rest of the world and other survivors, to say, why should I fight for justice, when it ultimately gets stripped down. It won’t matter.”

The first trial in her case had ended with a hung jury. Cosby’s protection crew insisted his encounter with Constand had been consensual. For the second trial, prosecutors have been allowed to introduce testimony from 5 extra ladies who, like Constand, stated that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

When the jury in the second trial discovered him responsible in 2018, many thought that, have been there to be any appellate ruling, it might doubtless deal with whether or not it had been prejudicial to permit the ladies from different incidents to testify — proof that prosecutors stated confirmed a sample of abuse.

The ebook is being launched on Tuesday.Credit…Penguin Random House

But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dominated on completely different grounds, discovering that the district lawyer had been sure by what a predecessor had referred to as a promise he made by no means to cost Cosby in the case. The predecessor stated he had made the promise to steer Cosby to testify in a subsequent civil motion, which Cosby settled by paying Constand $three.38 million. During his testimony in the civil case, Cosby acknowledged giving ladies quaaludes as half of an effort to have intercourse with them, a assertion that the June ruling stated had been unfairly launched at the 2018 trial.

Constand doesn’t mince her phrases in terms of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She blames it for undoing all the work she and others had accomplished to convey Cosby to justice and for “putting him on the street.”

“After a few deep breaths, I just felt this is not my problem,” she stated. “Now it made me feel the shame is on the Supreme Court. It’s not on me anymore.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated in its choice that it was upholding an vital safeguard: Cosby’s due course of rights had been violated. Its ruling was meant to stop harmful prosecutorial overreach.

Constand stated that for days after the choice she fielded emails, texts and telephone calls from individuals who have been irate about the ruling. Many have been from ladies who say they too have been assaulted by Cosby and who had seen the 2018 responsible verdict as justice for themselves. Some have been now her pals. “They were devastated, they were so angry,” she stated.

The ebook, simply weeks from its launch date, needed to be up to date. A writer’s word described the ruling and stated Cosby’s conviction had been overturned “on a procedural issue.”

Constand and supporters celebrated after Cosby was discovered responsible in April 2018.Credit…Pool photograph by Mark Makela

The assertion Constand had devised together with her attorneys was added as have been about 400 phrases to explain her response to the courtroom’s choice.

“We cannot let moments of injustice quiet us,” she wrote. “We must speak up again and again and again — until we arrive at a moment of real change.”

The case accounts for roughly two-thirds of the 240-page ebook. Constand takes readers inside her tussles with protection attorneys, who solid her as a upset lover in the first trial and a gold digger in the second. She describes the connections she felt with jurors, the lengthy stays in lodge rooms, the stress and the sacrifices her household needed to make.

She acquired by way of it, she writes, with the assist of her poodles, her spirituality and tattoos that give her power. (The phrase “truth” is displayed throughout the prime of her chest, a massive phoenix on her again.)

The ebook spends a while on her childhood in Canada, her years as a basketball participant at the University of Arizona and enjoying professionally in Italy. It additionally delves into her relationships and popping out as homosexual.

The memoir discusses different elements of Constand’s life, corresponding to her success as a highschool and faculty basketball participant.Credit…Ron Bull/The Toronto Star, through Associated

In the memoir, Constand describes herself as “wearied and weathered by what happened to me” and writes that Cosby had robbed a joyful younger lady, the product of a nourishing household and pleased childhood, of her smile. During an interview with The New York Times, she credited her religion for sustaining her and talked of beginning a new chapter of her life.

Constand began the ebook, helped by a co-writer, Meg Masters, greater than a 12 months earlier than the courtroom’s June choice, at the begin of the pandemic lockdown, as a solution to get closure.

“The healer in me knew I had to dive back into everything again and really try to remember and it was really chilling for me at times,” she stated. “Trauma is not wired for you to remember. It’s wired for you to forget.”

During the writing, she acquired Covid-19 and was sick on her sofa in Toronto for six weeks with “an elephant on my chest.” The expertise, the encounter together with her personal mortality, propelled her to complete the ebook.

“I thought it was important to write the story for other survivors who had stories, too,” she stated. “I wanted to be a symbol of hope to them. That their stories matter. And their stories are important.”

Despite the courtroom’s choice, she stated the years of arduous work have been in no way wasted. Cosby, now 84, served practically three years in jail, she identified. Publicity from the case helped change attitudes. Women have been inspired to return ahead. People believed them once they did. Several of the Cosby accusers helped with profitable legislative efforts to increase or eradicate states’ statutes of limitations in sexual assault circumstances.

“There were so many victories along the way,” she stated. “Society paid attention.”

In her memoir, Constand writes that Cosby had robbed a joyful younger lady, the product of a nourishing household and pleased childhood, of her smile. Credit…Angela Lewis for The New York Times

Since the courtroom’s choice, Cosby has stated he desires to re-emerge as a really public persona, which Constand must cope with. He has taken to social media to proclaim the ruling a vindication of his innocence, an overstatement of the choice, which discovered he had not been given a honest trial, however didn’t exonerate him.

But he nonetheless has three.2 million Twitter followers, and the day after the choice he posted a clip of Constand speaking about the evening she stated she was assaulted. It was paired with a assertion that took concern with media reporting on his case.

Constand stated the posting confirmed a man emboldened by his new freedom who was making an attempt to make use of it to wreck her status.

On the similar day, she retweeted a submit from her sexual abuse help basis that stated “Bill Cosby is not innocent.”

But, in any other case, after a modest quantity of publicity related together with her ebook, she stated she intends to regain her privateness. She is just not planning a ebook tour and stated she desires to deal with her therapeutic massage remedy enterprise, which was harm by the pandemic, and a nonprofit basis she began, Hope Healing and Transformation. It gives sources for survivors of sexual assault, corresponding to a library to assist perceive trauma, connections to attorneys and a platform for writing their tales. Some of the proceeds from her memoir are going to the basis.

She says it was her future to tackle Cosby, in what was a “David and Goliath situation.”

But would she do it once more?

Prosecutors are inspecting the chance of enchantment. If they gained, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s choice to dam a third trial might be overturned. And Constand stated she would possibly put herself by way of one other trial if requested, however it might be a troublesome choice and he or she must seek the advice of her household.

“Yeah, I would do it all over again,” she stated. “If it was to do the right thing. I would do anything, as long as it was for the right reason.”

Whatever occurs, she says, the proven fact that Cosby walked free mustn’t change what the case achieved.

“I hope it doesn’t deter anybody,” she stated. “I hope people will still find their voices. I hope that they don’t look at his freedom as a reason not to come forward. Quite the contrary, I hope they feel if Andrea can do it, I can do it.”