Tuesday 19 September 2017

Cosby Trial: Comedian said he was a ‘sick man’ and apologised, accuser’s mother says

‘Mom, he drugged me and he raped me,' Gianna Constand testifies

Bill Cosby arrives at court with actress Sheila Frazier. Photo: Reuters
Bill Cosby arrives at court with actress Sheila Frazier. Photo: Reuters

Emily Shugerman

Bill Cosby called himself a “sick man” and apologised to the mother of his alleged victim, a Pennsylvania court heard.

Gianna Constand told the jury that her daughter Andrea Constand's behaviour had changed after the alleged assault, and recounted a two-hour phone conversation she claimed to have had with the legendary comedian about the incident.

She said that her daughter moved home after the alleged assault, but did not immediately tell her parents what had happened. Instead, they began to notice subtle changes in her behaviour.

“She was having a lot of nightmares,” Ms Constand told jurors at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, adding: "It was very, very frequent that she would scream in her sleep or she would wake up in a sweat.”

Her daughter, 44, also developed a twitch in her eye, and a habit of staring off into space, she said. Her daughter had become “more nervous” than she had been before, she added.

Eventually, her daughter broke down and told her what had happened in a phone call on her way to work, she said.

“She said, ‘Mom, I think I’ve got PTSD,’” Ms Constand recalled, her voice shaking. “She said, ‘Mom, he drugged me and he raped me.’”

When she returned home from work, Ms Constand says, her “motherly instincts” kicked in. She demanded Mr Cosby’s phone number, and called the comedian to confront him. When he eventually called back, she says, they engaged in a more than two-hour phone conversation.

After learning what had happened to her daughter she was "distraught", she said.

"They were good friends. She viewed him like a father. He is 10 years older than even her own father," she testified, breaking down on the stand.

She then confronted Mr Cosby, 79, by phone during the two-hour call in which she said he "surrendered" to her about the sexual encounter and told her about how he had touched her daughter’s breasts and “digitally penetrated” her.

At one point in the call, he referred to himself as a “sick man”, she said.

“He said, ‘I apologise to Andrea.’” Ms Constand testified. “He said, ‘And I apologise to you mom.’” She said Mr Cosby referred to her as “mom” throughout the conversation.

Asked if she regretted anything about the conversation, Ms Constand said only: “‘I wish that I had recorded it.”

After that conversation, she said, she bought a recording device in the hope that Cosby would again confess to harming her daughter. But she said he kept their next conversation short.

Prosecutors played a recording of the call, in which Mr Cosby offered to pay for Constand's education.

"She could go to school," he said. "If she wanted to do that, then I would be willing to ... pay for the schooling.

Mr Cosby is currently facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault, stemming from an encounter with Ms Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

The former basketball coach claims the comedian drugged and molested her after a private dinner at his house. Though Mr Cosby has acknowledged having a sexual encounter with Ms Constant, he maintains it was consensual and has pleaded not guilty.

His defence pointed out that at no point in the phone conversation with Ms Constand's mother did Mr Cosby admit to sexually assaulting her.

Mr Cosby’s defence has rested largely on painting his encounter with the younger Ms Constand as consensual, and their relationship as “romantic”.

Defence attorneys have commented on the multiple times that Ms Constand visited Mr Cosby at his residence, and one instance in which she visited his hotel suite alone.

But the elder Ms Constand took a similar line to her daughter, who had earlier testified that she viewed Mr Cosby as a mentor and not a lover.

“Cosby had mentored her, and they were they were goods friends. She viewed him like a father,” Ms Constand said, adding: “He betrayed her.”

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his nice-guy image, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case.

Constand's case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged. Cosby potentially faces up to 10 years in prison on each of three related aggravated indecent assault charges, although the sentences could be merged, and he could get far less time if convicted.

The trial continues.

Independent News Service

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