The Rage We Feel When Serial Rapists Like Bill Cosby Walk Free On A Technicality

by Kristen Mae
Mark Makela/Stringer/Getty Images

Trigger warning: rape, assault

As if we needed further evidence that our courts seem to hate women and love rapists, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction. The ruling not only allowed him to go free, but it also prevents any further trials on his case.

Bill Cosby, a serial rapist allegedly dozens of times over, just … walked free.

It’s infuriating that he gets to go free, but the real icing on the cake here is that he went free on a technicality.

The 83-year-old actor and comedian has been accused of sexually assaulting at least 60 women. The stories began flowing in back in 2005 and are enough to make a person physically ill.

A sampling:

“He said, ‘Let’s try a cold read,’ so he pulls out a script. The scene was set in a bar; the character was someone who was inebriated. He poured a glass of white wine. And he said, use this as a prop — now, that means you’re going to have to sip on it, of course. I really don’t remember much, except waking up in his bedroom. He was naked, and he was forcing himself into my mouth.” — from Heidi Thomas, as told to The Cut in 2015

“He asked me if I wanted a glass of wine; I took a few sips. It had a horrible taste. And I started not feeling well. He helped me up by my underarms with both hands. He walked me into the next room, where there was a mirror on the wall, and he told me to look at myself. Something was wrong with me. And then he took my right hand, and he put it behind my back. I remember seeing semen on the floor.” — from Jewel Allison, as told to The Cut in 2015

There were so many stories like this. More than 60 stories. Bill Cosby is a serial rapist and utter shit smear of a human being.

The Technicality

It’s a lot to try to understand without reading the court ruling, and even after reading it, it’s still a lot.

It started back in 2005 when former basketball star Andrea Constand alleged to law enforcement that Cosby had drugged her and sexually assaulted her. The Montgomery County District Attorney at the time, Bruce Castor, didn’t believe there was enough hard evidence to draw a criminal conviction against Cosby. That’s despite 13 other women coming forward in 2005 with similar allegations.

The fact that our criminal justice system is such that a rich and famous bag of shit can have 14 women accuse him of sexual assault, and that is still apparently “insufficient” evidence for a criminal conviction is a whole other brand of putrid horse shit. Just what in the actual fuck. But apparently, that’s what went down.

When There’s Not Enough Physical Evidence

Anyway, Castor supposedly wanted to ensure that Cosby faced some sort of penalty for what he’d done to Constand. So he made a deal with Constand’s attorneys that in order for them to be able to require Cosby to testify in the civil trial against him, the D.A.’s office would commit to not bringing criminal charges against Cosby.

Why is that relevant? Because if Cosby’s attorneys had reason to believe he would be subject to criminal prosecution, Cosby could “plead the fifth” at the civil trial, aka, not say anything to criminally incriminate himself. He could simply opt out of the deposition. Then the civil case also wouldn’t have enough evidence for Constand to win.

According to Castor, the D.A., he wanted some accountability for Cosby, and this was the best way to get it. And, true enough, Cosby did end up settling the civil case with Constand, paying her $3.38 million in 2006 — a significant portion of which went to her attorneys.

What Cosby Said During The Civil Trial

Cosby admitted during his deposition to slipping young women Quaaludes, a nervous system depressant, often without their knowing what they were taking, to get them to have sex with him. He said, “I used them the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.’” Based on that statement, he apparently also didn’t think it was inappropriate to get someone drunk in order to get them to have sex with him.

Cosby had a modeling agent setting him up with young women who, at his request, were new in the area and “financially not doing well.” When asked about consent, he responded, “I think that I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things.” Breathtaking levels of entitlement.

After the suit was settled, Cosby finessed the narrative of the accusations in the media, and people mostly forgot that 14 women had accused the comedian of sexual assault.

Social Media Allows More Victims To Speak Up, And A Criminal Trial Ensues

In 2014, the shit started to hit the fan again for Cosby. With social media taking hold of how people got their information, it was no longer so easy for Cosby to control the narrative.

More and more women came forward with stories of Cosby’s depraved behavior. He was charged in 2015 and convicted and sentenced in 2018.

During the criminal trial, his 2005 deposition was used as evidence against him.

That’s the technicality. They weren’t supposed to use Cosby’s testimony from the earlier deposition in the 2015 trial. Everything he said during that deposition was on contingency of it not being allowed to be admitted against him in subsequent criminal proceedings.

A Serial Rapist Released

So the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that D.A. Kevin Steele, who arrested Cosby in 2015, was obligated to stand by D.A. Castor’s promise not to bring criminal charges against Cosby. According to the Associated Press, however, there was no evidence Castor’s promise was actually put in writing.

Still, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Cosby had supplied his potentially incriminating testimony in the civil case based on Castor’s promise not to charge him and that this testimony should not have been admissible in the later criminal trial.

It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist. Literally, our legal system is set up so that you can tell the truth about yourself and then use the fact that you told the truth about yourself to prevent the appropriate and justified consequences of the truth you told about yourself. That’s right, we live in a world where Bill Cosby can walk free because he admitted he was a rapist. Make it make sense.

Our court system is a web of loopholes and manipulations. In most cases, as long as you have money, the courts will bend to your will. And so, an admitted serial rapist with allegations against him from over 60 women … simply walks free.

Greatest country on earth, amiright?

Cosby was sentenced in 2018 to a three- to 10-year prison term. Upon his release on Wednesday, June 30, he had served close to three years of his term.