Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is opening up about how she felt when she learned that the man she claimed sexually assaulted her would be released from prison.
Speaking to The New York Times for an in-depth interview timed to the release of her memoir, The Moment, focused largely on her experience with Cosby, Constand says when she got the call that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had overturned Cosby’s conviction for drugging and violating her, “I had a lump in my throat. I really felt they were setting a predator loose and that made me sick.”
Constand also tells NBC News that when she learned of the ruling, based on an agreement between Cosby and a former Pennsylvania district attorney that the comedian wouldn’t be prosecuted, she was “really shocked” and “disappointed.”
She adds in the interview with NBC’s Kate Snow, part of which aired on Tuesday’s Today show, with more set to air on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, “How can a district attorney enforce a decision on a backroom handshake? How can you give any credibility to that?”
And Constand tells the Times that she places the blame and “shame” on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for undoing the work she and other accusers did to bring Cosby to justice and for “putting him on the street.”
“After a few deep breaths, I just felt this is not my problem,” she tells the Times. “Now it made me feel the shame is on the Supreme Court. It’s not on me anymore.”
As for Cosby’s own celebratory reaction to the decision, Constand tells Snow that she found that “disgusting” but unsurprising.
“Didn’t surprise me, given the the level of the the arrogance and having no remorse. During the time he was incarcerated, absolutely zero remorse for what he did to me,” she says of Cosby. “He’s a sexually violent predator who basically was let out of jail.”
Constand’s book has been updated with the ruling: a publisher’s note was added saying the conviction was overturned “on a procedural issue,” along with her initial statement calling the decision this summer disappointing and another 400 words describing her reaction to what happened.
And as she looks back on her experience, she doesn’t have regrets.
“I have come way too far to go back to that place to wonder whether it’s all worth it, or to have regrets,” Constand tells Snow. “It was worth it. It was worth it. All the pain, all the heartache all the reputational damage, not only for me, but my family. But it was worth it. Because I didn’t feel alone. I had a whole community, a whole army of women and other survivors, strangers, family, friends, who were right there with me.”
And she points out that while Cosby’s conviction was overturned, he did spend nearly three years in prison and her testimony “was believed.”
“Society paid attention” to her case, helping change attitudes, she told the Times.
As for other sexual assault survivors who may be reluctant to speak up, Constand says she hopes Cosby’s conviction being overturned “doesn’t deter anybody.”
“I hope people will still find their voices. I hope that they don’t look at his freedom as a reason not to come forward. Quite the contrary, I hope they feel if Andrea can do it, I can do it,” she says.
Watch more of Constand’s interview with Snow below.