One of Bill Cosby’s accusers who lived in the Bay Area for 30 years is reacting to Thursday’s verdict. Patrica Leary Steuer moved to Reno last month.
It’s been nearly 40 years since Steuer said Cosby first assaulted her. Now 61-years-old, he said she can now put down her sword and shield and stop fighting public perception.
When the verdict came down, Steuer was at the pharmacy and got a text from a friend.
“I was just stunned, shocked, out of my mind because I did not expect that verdict,” said Steuer.
Steuer, who lived in Portola Valley and then Tiburon for 30 years, was prepared for an acquittal, a hung jury like the first trial. She said she turned to her husband and cried.
“I started to cry and he put his arms around me,” said Steuer. “The two of us stood in the aisle at the Rite Aid in Kings Beach, crying both of us.”
It was back in 1978, Steuer, then 22, met Cosby in Massachusetts looking for guidance in her singing career. She said he invited her to his home, where she was given a cocktail and blacked out. Hours later, she woke up naked.
Two years later, she said he invited her to his penthouse in Atlantic City, where he gave her two pills and again she blacked out.
“The next morning I was waking up sicker than I ever felt before,” said Steuer. “I noticed something happened. I was penetrated while I was unconscious.”
Steuer didn't come forward until 25 years later when she realized she wasn't alone. She’s one of than more 50 accusers now feeling some vindication.
“I’m feeling very optimistic that we are at a tipping point of big bold change,” said Tanis Crosby of YWCA Silicon Valley CEO.
It’s the first high profile sexual assault trial since the Me Too movement. The YWCA Silicon Valley said the verdict is symbolic for women who have suffered abuse, Cosby accusers or not.
“I think today is another moment in the Me Too movement,” said Crosby. “That this is identifying survivors have power.”
As for Steuer, she is relieved and hopeful other survivors will come forward
“They don't have be silent anymore,” said Steuer.
As for his punishment, Steuer believes justice has been served and will defer his sentence to the judge.