PHILADELPHIA — Andrea Constand, who sued Bill Cosby for alleged sexual assault after area law-enforcement officials declined to pursue charges, filed a federal defamation suit Monday against the former suburban Philadelphia prosecutor who made the decision a decade ago.
The suit reveals that the current district attorney is looking into reopening the case.
Constand alleges that former Montgomery County, Pa., district attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. informed the media of his decision not to press charges even before telling her. Her suit also says that Castor claimed she had enhanced her story.
Constand says she has become “collateral damage for his political ambitions,” as Castor, a Republican, campaigns to regain his old job.
It is the rare legal case involving Cosby, in an ever-expanding docket, in which the Philadelphia-born comic is not listed as the defendant. More than 40 women have alleged that Cosby sexually abused them. Constand filed her civil case in 2005, and it was subsequently settled.
“She is devastated. He said she enhanced her claims in the civil lawsuit for monetary gain, and that is simply not true,” said Constand’s attorney, Dolores Troiani. “This is no way to treat a victim.”
Constand, a resident of Toronto, was a Temple University women’s basketball operations manager when, she alleges, Cosby drugged and molested her at his Cheltenham estate in January 2004. The following year, she reported the alleged incident to law enforcement officials. Cosby, who attended Temple, was long the public face of the university and served on the Board of Trustees for more than three decades.
There was “insufficient evidence to prosecute” in 2005, Castor said in July. Now a Montgomery County commissioner, Castor is running for district attorney, the position he held from 2000 to 2008, in the Nov. 3 election.
Constand’s lawsuit says current Montgomery County prosecutor Risa Vetri Ferman reopened her case “because plaintiff’s allegations against Cosby are a felony, which has a longer statute of limitations than a misdemeanor.”
It is the first public acknowledgment that the case is being reexamined.
Many of the allegations against Cosby are too old to prosecute. The actor has never gone to trial on charges of sexual abuse.
Ferman, a Republican and Castor’s former first assistant, has refused to confirm or deny reports about the status of the case. Cosby has been interviewing prominent area criminal defense attorneys, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The district attorney’s office reopened the case in July, Troiani said. The lawsuit alleges that Castor learned of the development in September and continued to make inflammatory remarks in public about Constand. Troiani said she sent Castor a Sept. 17 letter requesting that he stop and he did not.
“Suffice to say, more political chicanery right before the election,” Castor wrote in an e-mail responding to Constand’s allegations. “I’ve heard of desperation negative campaigns, but this surely takes the cake. Laughably transparent. I doubt the Federal Court will like being used as a campaign advertisement.”
Castor’s Democratic opponent, Kevin Steele, is current D.A. Ferman’s top assistant. The decade-old case has become a prominent issue in the race. Ferman, a Republican, is running for judge in common pleas court.
Montgomery County’s next district attorney will take office in January, when the statute of limitations on felony sex crimes related to the Constand allegations is set to expire.