The woman at the center of Bill Cosby’s overturned sexual assault conviction has broken her silence. On Wednesday (June 30), hours after the comedian was released from prison, Andrea Constand issued a statement from her and lawyers Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz that captured her sentiments on the vacation his sentence.
“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant, or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action,” the statement read.
Constand was an employee at Temple University when she accused Cosby — her mentor — of drugging and molesting her at his home in 2004. Appearing in court the following year, she shared her experience with then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who eventually decided not to pursue criminal charges due to lack of evidence. At the time, per PEOPLE, Castor agreed to never prosecute Cosby if he testified for a deposition in Constand’s civil suit — an agreement the accuser claims she was not privy to. In that deposition, the comedian admitted to drugging women.
Kevin Steele, the prosecutor who succeeded Castor, eventually used Cosby’s testimony against him and filed charges in 2015. Three years later, “The Cosby Show” actor was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to three-to-10 years in prison.
On Wednesday, after more than two years behind bars, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Steele’s decision to use Cosby’s statements against him violated due process as well as his Fifth Amendment right. As a result, his sentence was overturned, he was released from prison, and the charges cannot be refiled against him.
Despite the ruling, Constand and her lawyers thanked the women who told their stories and the prosecutors whose work resulted in the initial conviction. See the full statement below.