Cosby Show Actress Charged with Disorderly Conduct After Topless Protest at Bill Cosby Retrial
A former Cosby Show actress was charged with disorderly conduct after protesting outside of the Pennsylvania courthouse where Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial began Monday
Nicolle Rochelle, 39, was arrested and charged “with Disorderly Conduct after she entered a restricted area on the grounds of the Montgomery County Courthouse at 8:35 a.m., when the defendant, William H. Cosby Jr., was arriving for court,” the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release on Monday.
Rochelle, who had the words “Women’s Lives Matter” as well as the names of some of the 80-year-old actor’s accusers written on her topless body, was arrested after jumping over a barricade and trying to make her way toward Cosby, according to Page Six. The outlet also reported that since her arrest, Rochelle had been released.
The actress appeared on four episodes of The Cosby Show under the name Nicole Leach between 1990 and 1992, and has also appeared on Law & Order and Clarissa Explains it All, according to her IMDB page.
Rochelle was “charged with summary Disorderly Conduct, Title 18, Section 5503(A4), which is defined as ‘the intent to cause a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof,’ ” according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
They also added that “if convicted, the defendant will be assessed a fine and be required to pay court costs.”
“My action today was first and foremost an action lead by the group I joined in Europe about a year and half ago called Femen. Femen is an international Women’s movement of topless female activists painted with slogans and our mission is protesting the patriarchy and reclaiming our bodies,” Rochelle said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Monday.
“Protesting Bill Cosby was important for us because he is a man who has been disempowering women’s bodies for decades and in being naked today, I was symbolically taking back the ownership of all the victims’ bodies and redefining it as a political tool as opposed to a sexual object,” she continued.
“When I was 12 years old I did recur on the Cosby Show but regardless of whether I had been on the show or not, I would have been there today protesting on behalf of Femen and for the rights of women worldwide,” Rochelle concluded.
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More than 50 women have accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them decades ago, but he has denied all the allegations.
The comedian stood trial in 2017 after being accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. In June, a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial after the jury announced that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” after deliberating for days.