SVU's Mariska Hargitay reacted Thursday to Bill Cosby's conviction on sex assault charges

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April 26, 2018 05:09 PM

Following Bill Cosby’s conviction Thursday on sexual assault charges, an actress best known for her role bringing sex criminals to justice on television offered her support for Cosby’s many accusers.

Mariska Hargitay, who portrays Lieutenant Olivia Benson on the NBC drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, reacted on Twitter to the guilty verdict, telling Cosby’s accusers she’s on their side.

“To the survivors of his abuse, and to all survivors — whether you receive justice swiftly or many years down the road, know that we see you, we hear you, and we believe you,” the 54-year-old actress wrote.

“You matter and what happened to you matters.”

Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in January 2004. Montgomery County jurors deliberated for about 14 hours over two days before handing down the guilty verdict. Afterward, Cosby was freed on bond by the judge.

Cosby was convicted on three charges, each of which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years: aggravated indecent assault: penetration with lack of consent; penetration while unconscious; and penetration after administrating an intoxicant.

Hargitay has no direct connection to the Cosby case.

Mariska Hargitay and Raul Esparza
Michael Parmelee/NBC

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Cosby assaulted Constand, 45, in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. The defense claimed that the sexual contact was consensual. Both sides presented 12 days of testimony and evidence to the seven-man, five-woman jury. Cosby, who did not testify during his trial, denies similar allegations from more than 60 women.

Hargitay is a staunch advocate for victims of sexual assaults.

This year, she produced a powerful documentary called I Am Evidence, which shines a light on the staggering number of untested rape kits in the United States today.

Hundreds of thousands of kits containing potentially crucial DNA evidence remain untested in police evidence storage rooms nationwide despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes.

The documentary debuted last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is now airing on HBO.

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