On June 17, the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial ended without a verdict. Jurors in the case were unable to reach a unanimous decision, and after nearly a week of deliberations, a mistrial was declared as the world watched with bated breath. Since the trial's end, several jurors (including an alternate) have spoken out about the case. Reportedly, only two holdouts refused to vote to convict Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, and according to an alternate juror (who didn't sit in on deliberations but heard all testimony at trial), he "probably" would have voted to convict.
However, there were far more eyes on the Cosby trial than those of jurors and detached spectators. While Andrea Constand was the only Bill Cosby accuser whose allegations against the formerly beloved comedian resulted in criminal charges, over the last couple of years nearly 60 other women have come forward to accuse the actor of drugging/sexually assaulting them over decades.
While Bill Cosby stood trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a handful of his other accusers sat vigil at the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, courthouse. Those women, a small sampling of the dozens who have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them, waited for nearly two weeks of arguments and deliberations for Bill Cosby to be convicted.
And they waited in vain.The group of Cosby accusers, deliberately dressed in uniform black clothing, were able to watch the trial proceed from a reportedly "too cold" Courtroom C. They sat, day after day, surrounded by "overflow journalists" and random members of the local community. For the women, each one of which claim to be a victim of Bill Cosby, the trial was an emotional nightmare.
As Independent reports, many members of the group of alleged Bill Cosby victims saw the Andrea Constand trial as their "one shot at justice." They came from across the country, united by nothing more than what they each say Bill Cosby did to them. According to Victoria Valentino, one of the women who dressed in black and watched for a semblance of justice at the Cosby trial, she felt as though she had to be there.
"I just have always had this feeling that if this ever came to trial I would have to come. I really had no choice."Most of the women have stories that closely mirror the accusations that Andrea Constand levied against Cosby -- that the man formerly known as "America's Dad" drugged them and sexually assaulted them when they were incapable of defending themselves -- or consenting.
Bill Cosby wholeheartedly and unfailingly denied all sexual assault accusations that have been made against him, including those made by Andrea Constand. According to Cosby, he and Constand (who is reportedly gay) had a consensual sexual encounter, and he had pleaded not guilty to the felony sexual assault charges that resulted in his recent failed trial.Despite Cosby's claims of innocence, the group of his accusers who traveled to Pennsylvania to attend his trial were waiting on nothing less than seeing him convicted.
According to Valentino, a single conviction after decades of allegedly sexually assaulting women and getting away with it would have been "justice" for all of his alleged victims.
"If she gets justice, it is justice for all of us. And not only just for us – It's for all women – all victims."Unfortunately for Valentino (and Andrea Constand and every other woman who has allegedly been sexually victimized by Cosby), there was no justice to be had. On June 17, a mistrial was declared after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Cosby wasn't found innocent, but he wasn't found guilty either, and he walked away from the courthouse a free man. It was an outcome that a disgusted Victoria Valentino found unacceptable. According to the woman who claims to be just one of Cosby's allegedly "many" victims, the lack of a verdict was a slap in the face -- to her, to Constand, and to all sexual assault victims.
"It was really a slap in the face to all rape victims."While Valentino (and Constand) are understandably emotional and even outraged over the way the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial panned out, their collective cause isn't completely lost, and Cosby isn't out of the woods yet. Pennsylvania prosecutors have vowed to re-try the 79-year-old comedian as soon as possible. And when they do, many of his accusers who waited for justice in the first Cosby trial have vowed to come back for round two.Bill Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault related to allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. Each charge carried a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
[Featured Image by Matt Slocum/AP Images]