(NORRISTOWN, Pa.) — A Bill Cosby accuser who’d traveled from California to attend the weeks-long trial in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, told ABC News today that she was “elated” after hearing the guilty verdict.
“We [accusers] are finally believing in the system. The system is now working for us,” Victoria Valentino said. “Women are being believed, finally, instead of the perpetrator, instead of the wealthy, powerful, famous perpetrators.”
Valentino said that 48 years ago, in 1969, Cosby had drugged her with pills and raped her. She said that at the time, she had just turned 27 and was depressed after losing her 6-year-old son in a drowning.
Valentino said she never reported the incident with Cosby to authorities out of shame and humiliation.
Cosby, 80, was convicted in court today on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from drugging and molesting a woman in his suburban Pennsylvania home nearly 14 years ago.
Andrea Constand, Cosby’s main accuser, and five other women had testified that he’d drugged and sexually assaulted them. Cosby has steadfastly denied the charges.
Today’s conviction came about 11 months after a mistrial was declared in Cosby’s first trial. Valentino said she was also present for that trial.
Since the start of jury deliberations Wednesday, Valentino said that she and other accusers attending the trial had been “steeling” themselves for another mistrial.
“I didn’t think they [the jurors] were going to come back this soon. I thought we were going to be here all day. … I came back and all these crowds are out in front,” she said. “You could feel the electricity in the air, and when they said verdict, oh my God, unbelievable, unbelievable.”
Valentino said that although she never thought this day would ever come, it was important for her to attend the trial.
“Once you find your voice, there’s no stopping you. … The floodgates are open. … It’s not just about me anymore, it’s about women,” she said. “All of us, not just the Cosby survivors. … It’s about all women who still haven’t found the courage to speak and they’re holding their secret and holding their pain and holding their wounds into themselves and they’re festering and it’s infecting the next generation. … So once you start speaking, I mean, it’s just like flushing all the toxins out of your system and you just can’t stop. You’ve got to see it through to the end.”
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