An outraged defense attorney for Bill Cosby asked the judge to declare a mistrial Friday afternoon after a sexual assault expert began testifying about victim behavior after an assault.
The motion was denied.
“This so-called expert is … telling this jury that this offender is guilty,” Brian McMonagle argued.
After listening to arguments from both sides, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill denied the motion, saying state law permits the testimony of such an expert.
“This is your argument and I understand your argument,” O’Neill said to McMonagle. “I understand the passion from which you bring it. However, it is this court’s opinion that the testimony so far is not violating the statute.”
Prior to the trial, Cosby’s attorneys filed motions to get the expert’s testimony excluded, which were also denied.
Under a Pennsylvania law enacted after the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case, prosecutors are allowed to use an expert to explain victim behavior in sexual assault cases.
Cosby, 79, is on trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, 44, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges, insisting their sexual contact was consensual, and has denied similar allegations from more than 60 women.
Constand, who is gay, says it was not.
The expert whose testimony was disputed is Dr. Veronique Valliere, who has treated thousands of sexual assault victims and offenders during her 30 plus years in the field and owns Valliere Associates Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Memory loss, confusion, delayed reporting of the incident to authorities and continuing to see an offender after are common behaviors of people victimized by people they know, Valliere testified, especially when intoxicants are used.
“We have expectations that are misguided about how people respond to traumatic events, especially sexual assault,” said Valliere, who was allowed to testify in general terms but could not opine on the case itself.
“Much of that comes from the fact we misunderstand what sexual assault is. Most of us have this expectation most rapes are violent, involve strangers etc.,” she said.
But she added, “Most times it’s not violent. It’s perpetrated by somebody you know and trust. Victims are confused by what happened to them and they don’t necessarily want to go through this process, and they don’t want to go to law enforcement.”
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Cosby’s defense attorneys have sought to cast doubt on Constand’s credibility by revealing she went back to his home after she twice rebuffed his sexual advances, and that she stayed in touch with him after the alleged sexual assault.
She said she tried to confront him at his home about the alleged assault, but that he allegedly avoided her questions and she lost her nerve.
Such behavior is common, especially if the offender has a position of power over the victim, Valliere testified.
“When offenders act like nothing happened, or try to revise the truth, it may contribute to the victim’s fear they won’t be believed,” she said, adding that this “creates some kind of mixup within the victims’ own feeling of reality.”
At the time of the alleged assault, Constand was director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was on the Board of Trustees. He befriended her and became her mentor, she testified.
Cosby ‘Wanted to Build up Trust’ with Constand
Late Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, prosecutors spent several hours going over the deposition Cosby gave in Constand’s long-settled civil suit filed in 2005, in which he discussed Constand.
In the deposition, Cosby said he had a “romantic interest” in Constand from the first moment he met her after being introduced by a mutual friend at a Temple University women’s basketball game in late 2002. But he didn’t let Constand know, he said.
When asked why he didn’t tell Constand of his interest, Cosby replied, “Don’t do it that way. Wanted to build up trust,” according to Detective James Reape, who read the transcript under questioning by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
Cosby says he gave Constand Benadryl the night of the alleged sexual assault, and turned over some pills to law enforcement after his January 2005 interview with police. But Steele introduced the toxicology reports, which showed no traces of Benadryl.
In his deposition, Cosby also said he did not believe Constand and her mother were after “hush money,” and said he’d always viewed her as a truthful person.