Bill Cosby's prison release leaves accusers retraumatized victim

As Bill Cosby awoke Thursday to his first full day of freedom in nearly three years, women who accused him of sexual assault and victim advocates we’re left reeling from the fallout of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to vacate his 2018 conviction. Two women who alleged Cosby drugged and assaulted them told ABC News they felt sick to their stomachs, including one who said the ruling retriggered her post-traumatic stress disorder.”What we’re seeing is a lot of people are expressing feelings of trauma, retraumatization, feeling helpless and hopeless in the criminal justice system,” Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor of clinical psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who studies sexual violence prevention, told ABC News on Thursday. Jeglic said the court’s decision came across as a giant step back from the progress made during the #MeToo movement, in which rich, powerful men like Cosby and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were convicted and imprisoned in sexual assault cases.”Following #MeToo, we had some hope,” Jeglic said. “It’s very difficult for survivors to come forward and make accusations, and to go through the criminal justice system process. So when you see that it has failed yet again, you just kind of feel like, ‘What can I do?’ ‘How is this ever going to end?'”Jeglic said that only 25 out of every 1,000 cases of sexual abuse end with the assailant going to prison. Cosby was convicted on April 26, 2018, on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, stemming from accusations made by Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his suburban Philadelphia mansion. Cosby was given a sentence of three to 10 years in prison. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s conviction on Wednesday, ruling he should have never been prosecuted because of a deal he and his attorneys cut with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor in 2005. As part of the deal, Castor agreed not to criminally prosecute Cosby if he testified in a deposition for a civil suit Constand filed against him, one that resulted in a $3 million settlement. During a four-day deposition, Cosby, believing he had immunity from criminal charges, made incriminating statements, including that he obtained drugs, specifically the sedative Quaaludes, to give women for sex. Castor’s successor, Kevin Steele, then used Cosby’s statements as grounds to file criminal charges. The state Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors violated Cosby’s constitutional rights to due process and described Steele’s decision to file felony charges as an unconstitutional “coercive bait-and-switch.””The court is saying the entire process was fundamentally unfair,” Dan Abrams, ABC News’ chief legal analyst, said Thursday on “Good Morning America.”There were no conditions placed on Cosby’s release and he does not have to register as a sex offender.

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