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The road to justice for Bill Cosby's victims has been a long one.
In 2005, Andrea Constand accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her a year earlier. The Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) district attorney declined to press charges, but Constand, along with 13 other women who came forward and accused Cosby of sexual assault after Constand's story became public, filed a civil suit that was eventually settled out of court. That might have been the end of it, as the story largely fell under the radar and Cosby maintained his facade as beloved celebrity and "America's Dad." But in 2015, a video of comedian Hannibal Buress describing the accusations against Cosby during a comedy routine went viral -- and the case came roaring back to life.
Ultimately, more than 60 women accused Cosby of sexual assault. The statute of limitations had passed in the majority of these cases, but Constand was still able to press charges. In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.
Tamara Green, who was the second woman to come forward in 2004 and the only other one at the time other than Constand to be publicly named, spoke at CrimeCon 2021, presented by Oxygen., about the pain that still haunts her. Green, who alleges Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1970, emphasized, "Even after all this time, it still sticks in my neck when I try to talk about it."
"You'e meant to get over it, get past it, don't burden our dinner party with this ugly talk, so I was already conditioned to box it up and put it away somewhere but it festers. ... It affects your life in ways you can't expect. I'm so grateful I weathered this storm and I was able to bring attention to something that allowed so many women to tell their story," Green said.
Green was joined by a fellow Cosby survivor, Therese Serignese, who alleges Cosby gave her pills and sexually assaulted her after a Las Vegas show in 1976 when she was just 19. She remembers that her family members encouraged her to keep the assault a secret. She had been taught to "try to reframe this thing, make it something different, because, you know, how did this happen to me?" she recalled.
When she was given an opportunity to finally speak out against Cosby, it meant so much to her, Serignese said.
"I always wanted to tell, but everybody told me I couldn't tell. When I saw Andrea on the internet, I couldn't wait to tell! ... All I've ever wanted to do is tell on him. All I saw was him being 'Mr. Good Dad' when I know he's this rapist. I knew if he did it to me, he probably did it to somebody else," she told the audience.
When it comes to Cosby's chances at redemption, Green admits she has mixed feelings about it, but thinks Cosby missed his shot at doing that when he refused to admit guilt.
"Do something to redeem yourself, do something to help women, and apologize! Redeem yourself by acknowledging what you've done. That would've helped everyone, but he didn't," she said.
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