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‘My Faith in Humanity Is Restored.’ Bill Cosby Accusers Feel Vindicated After Guilty Verdict

2 minute read

Moments after actor Bill Cosby was found guilty of drugging and molesting a woman more than a decade ago, his accusers reacted with a mix of tears and jubilation outside the Pennsylvania courthouse.

A jury concluded Thursday that Cosby sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, finding him guilty on three counts of indecent assault that could put him in jail for up to 30 years. Constand left the courtroom smiling broadly — a feeling apparently shared by several fellow Cosby accusers who were on hand during the trial.

“I feel like I’m dreaming. Can you pinch me? I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” accuser Lili Bernard told MSNBC, adding the verdict is “also a victory for all sexual assault survivors, female and male. It’s a victory for womanhood.” Bernard accused Cosby, now 80, of drugging and raping her ahead of a guest appearance on the Cosby Show in the early ’90s.

Footage captured by ABC News showed other accusers collapsing in tears outside the courtroom after Cosby’s guilty verdict was handed down.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer who has represented numerous Cosby accusers for years, spoke outside the courthouse, flanked by a number of the women who have spoken out against the disgraced actor and comedian. She said the verdict is the happiest she’s been about a court decision in 42 years.

“Justice has been done and we are very, very happy and proud of this result,” Allred said. “We are so happy that finally can we say women are believed and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law.”

The decision comes less than a year after Cosby’s original trial ended with a hung jury.

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com