Lead Story West Edition

Former Cosby fans feel no sympathy for fallen star

LOS ANGELES — The conviction of actor and comedian Bill Cosby on three counts of aggravated indecent assault April 26 has left some of his longtime fans disappointed, while other people say the 80 year old got what he deserved.

A Pennsylvania jury took two days to convict Cosby on charges that he drugged and then sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in his home in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004.

The verdict came almost a year after another jury could not agree on one, resulting in a mistrial..

Attorney Robert Shapiro, who was part of the legal defense team for O.J. Simpson’s murder trial in 1995, said no one could have successfully defended Cosby.

Shapiro was responding to a question about the Cosby verdict posed by a reporter for TMZ.com.

Shapiro said the verdict was a testament to the power of the #MeToo movement and criticized Cosby for using the a pejorative directed at the prosecutor after the verdict.

A Baldwin Hills psychologist who has women clients who have been sexually assaulted said she was glad Cosby was convicted.

Jan Ferris said, “While I’m glad Cosby is finally being held accountable for his crimes, no amount of delayed justice will totally erase what happened. As a consequence of sexual assault, these women were dealt a lifelong sentence they have had to struggle with and process. Cosby may finally serve a short sentence at the end of his life. Big deal.”

Shirley Worrels of Baldwin Hills said she feels no empathy for Cosby, but she does sympathize with him and anyone else who fails to understand that bad behavior begets bad outcomes.

“My first thought is one of disappointment that someone who had the potential to do so much for society and his community let himself and others down,” Worrels said. “I stopped ‘liking’ him years ago when he became so judgmental and sanctimonious in his criticism of the black community.

“I was impressed with his endowments to [historically black colleges and universities] as a means to try to correct some of the disparities that he railed against,” she added. “I was initially skeptical of the claims of his being a sexual predator because I know that there is a culture of ‘groupies’ who try to attach themselves to celebrities for gain.

“However, after paying close attention to the claims, I became convinced that there was an unmistakable pattern of behavior that went beyond your garden variety ‘hook up’ with someone famous. His acts were clearly criminal and definitely predatory.”

Cosby has been a successful comic and actor for 50 years, but it was his role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” that aired from 1984 to 1992 that established him as “America’s TV Dad,” and gave him a platform to become a spokesman for black America.

Not everyone a reporter spoke with had bad things to say about Cosby.

Margaret Bush Ware of Baldwin Hills said she has met Cosby and that she found it hard to believe every story that has been told about Cosby drugging and then sexually assaulting women.

“I met him prior to my being hired by Sammy Davis Jr.,” Ware said. “I would go to his dressing room and play dominoes with him and other staffers. I was left alone with him on many occasions and he always treated me with dignity and respect.”

Ware said she finds it hard to accept that the man she considers a friend must suffer the consequences of having consensual sex — “they responded to his invitation to come to his room or home, didn’t they” — that turned into sexual assault.

Sandy Grady of Baldwin Hills also does not believe all the accusations against Cosby, but acknowledges he has made some bad choices.

“It’s unfortunate that he was found guilty and his legacy is tarnished forever,” Grady said. “Hopefully, this outcome will send a message to men and women to be careful about the choices you make.

“I have never stopped watching ‘The Cosby Show’ and I will continue to appreciate the good that he did,” Grady said.