Today, Judge Steven T. O’Neill declared a mistrial in the prosecution of Bill Cosby of charges that he had sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, after jurors were unable to reach a conclusion. Prosecutors immediately announced that they will retry Cosby. Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, released the following statement in response:
“This result is deeply disappointing. Andrea Constand showed extraordinary courage in pressing her case against Cosby. She was one of more than 60 women who described Cosby’s behavior as that of a predator who meticulously planned his assaults on women ahead of time to ensure his control over them.
“We have much work ahead of us to ensure that people in our communities who play important roles in the criminal justice system as either jurors, lawyers, or judges, understand the effects of sexual assault and the responses to it. No one participating in any court proceeding involving sexual assault, much less a high-stakes celebrity trial, should be lacking in this basic knowledge.
“Every day at BARCC, survivors tell us that it often feels as if the world is against them. They feel misunderstood. They feel shamed. And they feel blamed when others hold them to account for the ways in which the assault against them played out, and for the ways in which they dealt with the assault afterwards. It is my hope for Constand that she understands that many of us do believe her and are grateful for her courage in speaking truth to power.
“Much work remains to raise public awareness about sexual assault and to find ways to assist survivors as they heal. Believing them is a good place to start, and BARCC will continue its work with survivors, their families, and the broader public to achieve that goal.”