Tampa Bay crisis center concerned sexual assault victims will hesitate to come forward after Bill Cosby release

Hillsborough County

Comedian Bill Cosby, center, and spokesperson Andrew Wyatt, right, approach members of the media gathered outside Cosby’s home in Elkins Park, Pa., Wednesday, June 30, 2021, after Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his sex assault conviction. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction Wednesday after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is concerned that this decision will keep victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

“It’s unfortunate because not only does it affect the victims, it also makes me concerned about others out there,” Kathleen Kempke with the crisis center said.

Cosby has served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia. He had vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated Cosby’s convictions because Cosby initially made a deal with a prosecutor, who said he would not prosecute the TV star if Cosby gave a deposition in a civil case. But a different prosecutor later used that deposition to take Cosby to court, a move the higher court has now ruled illegal.

“My hope is that this decision won’t make them so concerned that they won’t get the services they need,” Kempke said of other assault victims.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay helped more than 500 sexual assault victims in 2020.

They offer a 24/7 hotline where you can call and talk to someone anonymously. All you have to do is call 211. You can also learn more about the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and their services on their website

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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