Bill Cosby's Accusers React to Criminal Charges: "It's Been A Big Day"
"[I did] sort of a happy dance, and then I called a fellow survivor," recalled Kaya Thompson, who alleges Cosby assaulted her in 1988.
In the wake of yesterday's news that Bill Cosby had been charged with sexual assault stemming from a 2004 encounter with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, his many accusers, who've alleged offenses ranging from drugging to rape, reacted with a range of emotions. Some danced. Some cried. Several kept looking forward with the hope that they would get their day in court.
Kaya Thompson, who met Cosby in New York in 1988 when she was a 17-year-old model, claims that he had been mentoring her for a year when an unwanted sexual encounter took place at his home.
On Wednesday, Thompson told CNN's Don Lemon that when she heard of the charges against Cosby she was "shocked. And happy. Prayers answered." Thompson said she did "sort of a happy dance, and then I called a fellow survivor."
Soon, her phone started "blowing up" as other women began to call. "It's been a big day," she said.
Thompson said that it's time for Cosby to "own up," adding, "I feel that really, for the African-American community, he owes us, to be honest."
Heidi Thomas met Cosby in 1984 as a 24-year-old aspiring actress and model and says she visited him at a house outside of Reno, Nev. She alleges that he offered her a glass of wine, and she later woke up with Cosby next to her in bed, naked and "forcing himself in my mouth."
"I think I can speak for all of us and say we are thrilled," Thomas told CNN. "Many of us, myself included, really didn't think he'd see the inside of a courtroom because of his power and his influence and his money."
But Thompson is still cautious about how the case will unfold, saying, "Is it going to become something that eventually will send him to prison? Wow. That would be the ultimate victory. I don't know."
Beth Ferrier claims she met Cosby in Denver in the mid-1980s when she was a model in her early 20s. As is the case in many of the women's accounts, Cosby served as a mentor to Ferrier. But one night, he gave her a drugged cappuccino, after which "she woke up six hours later in the back of her car in an alley," she told CNN affiliate KCNC.
"Today is still just a good day, regardless of if he is found guilty or not guilty," she said. "We're hoping that we get our day in court."
"If someone speaks to you about sexual assault, you need to believe them, believe the women," said Ferrier.
Patricia Steuer alleges that on two occasions, Cosby drugged her more than 30 years ago when she was an aspiring singer. The first time was at his home in Massachusetts; the second time was at his penthouse in Atlantic City, N.J.
The first time, she says she passed out after taking a drink. When she later woke up naked in bed, she claims Cosby told her that she had thrown up on her dress and it had been washed.
Steuer alleges the second time the comedian, who had offered to help her with her career, would not let her enter the apartment until she took two pills he gave her. She told CNN that after taking them she lost consciousness, woke up naked and believed she had been raped.
Steuer told CNN's New Day on Thursday that she was in a public place with her husband when she heard the news of Cosby's arrest on Dec. 30.
"I just put my arms around him and stood there and cried," she said.
Steuer revealed that she just recently started therapy for her encounters with Cosby.
"Anytime I'm touched by anyone, I jump," she said. "That's been difficult in my marriage of 35 years."
Former Playboy playmate Victoria Valentino says that a friend introduced her to Cosby in the late '60s in the hopes of getting her work on his TV show I Spy. Valentino alleges the comedian gave her pills to "cheer up." After taking them, she felt drugged as Cosby took her to another location. Once there, Valentino claims he pushed himself near her mouth, before turning her around and raping her.
Valentino told CNN she had been up late reading and was sleeping in late the next morning when the phone started ringing with the news.
She described her immediate feeling as "very emotional."
"It's really been a shock," she said. "I don't think anyone of us expected that this was going to happen."
Valentino said that she started to cry once she saw Cosby's mugshot.
She also described decades of feeling powerless as Cosby's career and fame only grew, while she and other women kept their painful secrets.
"I just want him to stand up and tell the truth and take it like a man," said Valentino. "I want the truth to come out. I want justice to be served, and I want justice to prevail for all of the women, all of these victims, who have suffered watching him receive accolades all these years while they were suffering the consequences of PTSD from their encounters with him."
Supermodel Beverly Johnson, who like Ferrier also claims Cosby gave her a drugged cappuccino, spoke earlier this year about forgiving him, telling Good Morning America, "I'm never angry. I don't carry anger and bitterness," said Johnson. "It's a part of who I am and how I was taught, and so forgiving is a part of that process."
On Wednesday, Johnson took to Twitter to express her feelings about his arrest.
When it comes down to it, truth is simple. There is nothing that we give to others that does not come back to us in some shape or form.— Beverly Johnson (@BeverlyJohnson1) Dec. 31, 2015