Cosby accusers claim vindication, friends reserve judgment

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While many of Bill Cosby's accusers feel vindicated by his decade-old admission that he gave at least one woman quaaludes before sex, some of his Hollywood friends are reserving judgment, saying the testimony doesn't prove he committed a crime.

The testimony, unsealed Monday by a federal judge, reignited the furor that erupted last year, when dozens of women came forward to accuse the comedian of sexual assault over the past four decades. Many said Cosby drugged and raped them.

"I never thought I would be validated or vindicated in this," said Joan Tarshis, of Woodstock, New York, who accused Cosby of drugging and attacking her when she was breaking into comedy writing in 1969.

"I mean, it's turned my life around 180 because now all the people that haven't believed me or us have come out, most of them, and said, 'We were wrong.'"

The testimony came from a deposition in a 2005 sexual abuse lawsuit brought against Cosby by a former Temple University basketball team employee, Andrea Constand. The case was settled on confidential terms, but it was the first in a torrent of lawsuits that have shattered Cosby's good-guy image as wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s and '90s.

Questioned under oath, Cosby acknowledged giving quaaludes to a 19-year-old woman before they had sex in Las Vegas in 1976. And he admitted giving the powerful, now-banned sedative to unidentified others. His lawyer intervened before he could answer questions about how many women were given drugs and whether they knew it.

On ABC's "The View" on Tuesday, Whoopi Goldberg said she is reserving judgment on Cosby, reaffirming the stance she has held since the allegations against him resurfaced last winter.

"You are still innocent until proven guilty," Goldberg said. Cosby "has not been proven a rapist."

"The View" co-host Raven-Symone, who starred on Cosby's sitcom as a child and credits him with launching her career, said: "You need the proof, and then I'll be able to give my judgment here or there."

The Bounce TV network, which is geared toward black viewers, said it is pulling its reruns of the 1990s-era CBS sitcom "Cosby" from the air immediately.

And Philadelphia singer Jill Scott, who supported Cosby through the barrage of recent allegations, changed her tune. "I'm not sorry for standing by my mentor. I'm sorry the accusations RTrue," Scott tweeted.

Cosby, 77, has never been charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations on most of the accusations has run out.

Cosby and his lawyers have not commented on the unsealed documents. His publicist, David Brokaw, said that a statement ABC attributed to Cosby's camp "was not authorized by a Cosby representative."

Attorneys for some of the women suing Cosby seized on the testimony as powerful corroboration of their accusations.

"The women have been saying they've been drugged and abused, and these documents appear to support the allegations," said Joe Cammarata, who represents Therese Serignese. She claims Cosby sexually assaulted her backstage in Las Vegas.

Bruce Castor, a former suburban Philadelphia prosecutor who declined to bring charges in the Constand case a decade ago, said Tuesday that Cosby's admission about giving quaaludes to women he wanted sex with didn't amount to evidence of a crime.

Castor, who is running again for district attorney in Montgomery County, said that if he is elected, he will review the unsealed court documents to see if Cosby committed perjury.


Associated Press writers David Bauder in New York, Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York, Kathy Matheson in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and Allen G. Breed in Durham, North Carolina, and TV writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to delete an erroneous reference to lawyer Gloria Allred pressing for criminal charges against Cosby; she is instead pursuing a sex abuse lawsuit.