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Andrea Constand says she had to forgive Bill Cosby to find peace after assault

Posted at 9:53 AM, Jun 02, 2018

(CNN) -- Andrea Constand, the woman whose accusations led to Bill Cosby's indecent assault conviction, had to forgive the comedian to leave her fear and anger behind.

"I forgave Bill Cosby for what he did to me. I forgive him. It's been many, many years. And if I did not forgive him, I wouldn't have peace. And I sit here today and I have my peace," she said on NBC's "Dateline" Friday night.

Speaking publicly for the first time in years, Constand revealed during the interview that she initially kept her assault secret because she thought no one would believe her.

"It was Bill Cosby. It was Dr. Huxtable," Constand said, referencing the kindly, sweater-wearing father that Cosby played on television.

"I thought I was the only person that he did this to," she said in a portion of the interview aired on Thursday's edition of NBC's "Nightly News with Lester Holt." "Who's going to believe me?"

In the months after the assault, she grew angrier. She said she wanted to confront him and ask him, "Why did you do this to me?"

Though dozens of women came forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault, Andrea Constand's allegations were the only ones tried in court. In April, that case saw Cosby found guilty of drugging and indecently assaulting Constand in 2004.

Constand told NBC it was a year until she finally told her mother about what happened out of fear there would be other victims if she didn't speak out.

"I woke up and I had a bad dream and that dream was that Mr. Cosby would do this to somebody else if I did not say or tell someone," Constand told NBC in a portion of the interview that aired on Friday's Today.

"I woke up crying and I said, 'Mom, Mr. Cosby drugged me and he sexually violated me,'" Constand recalled. "And she was so caught off guard."

The assault occurred at Cosby's home in a Philadelphia suburb, where Constand, then an employee with the Temple University women's basketball team, went to ask Cosby for career advice.

Constand said in a snippet of the interview that aired on Thursday that she became a "limp noodle" after Cosby offered her pills.

"My mind is saying, 'Move your hands. Kick. Can you do anything? I don't want this. Why is this person doing this?'"

At the second trial -- the first ended in a mistrial -- Cosby's defense team launched aggressive attacks on Constand's credibility and said their sexual interaction was consensual. Constand was a "con artist," they argued, who wanted a piece of Cosby's fortune.

She told NBC the defense allegations were "despicable."

She said Cosby was the con artist who sexually assaulted women for decades while playing the role of the popular entertainer.

The case was never about money, she said.

After the conclusion of the retrials in late April, Constand simply commented in a single tweet, thanking Pennsylvania and Montgomery County for their work on the trials.

On Tuesday, Constand quoted writer and activist Gloria Steinem in another tweet, writing, "The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people, that is healing in itself."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the month when Cosby was found guilty. A jury found him guilty in April.

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