Local Defense Attorney and Rape Victim Advocate React to Cosby Release
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Over 50 women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault, but today Bill Cosby is a free man.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction when it was discovered a previous prosecutor promised he would never be charged.
“This ruling for Bill Cosby to be set free should be a warning to all prosecutors to be careful what you promise today could be held against your colleague years down the road,” says Hamilton County Public Defender Boyd Patterson.
Statutes of limitations will likely prevent any further charges being brought against Cosby but technicalities that result in reversals like these should not discourage victims anywhere from coming forward.
“My hope is that victims will not be discouraged in coming forward and they will continue to seek justice, whether that’s justice in a court of law or just for their own purpose of healing,” says Patterson. “That’s something where they should take advantage of the current societal interest in justice being delivered no matter how long ago the crime happened.”
Most of the alleged crimes involved Cosby drugging his victims.
“Consenting has to be someone that is in their rightful mind, not under intoxication, not on drugs,” says Lora Pratt, Rape Victim Advocate with Partnership for Families, Children and Adults “It has to be continual. So any point in time, consent can stop the minute ‘no’ is said.”
Partnership for Families, Children and Adults has trained medical professionals to assist victims of sexual assault.
“The Rape Crisis Center is at 300 East 8th Street in downtown Chattanooga. We are the only ones that can do the forensic exams,” says Pratt.
Partnership’s 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is 423-755-2700