In a recent interview on Progressive Radio Network’s “This Can’t Be Happening!” program, Temple Law Professor Marina Angel says her university’s president and board of trustees are deluding themselves if they think that by ignoring or denying the burgeoning scandal of celebrated Temple grad and (until recently) trustee Bill Cosby and his long history of drugging and then allegedly sexually assaulting young women, it will all go away. Rather, like the Penn State Sandusky scandal, she warns it will get worse, dragging the school down, and its dismissive leaders with it.
In the latest development, a prosecutor in neighboring Montgomery County, PA says she is considering whether to refile criminal sexual assault charges against Cosby, based on the release of his once-sealed deposition transcript in a civil suit brought by one of his victims, Andrea Constand, a Temple employee at the time. Constand’s criminal case, once dropped by a prior Montgomery County DA who felt he didn’t have enough solid evidence to convict, is still within the 12-year statute of limitations for the next four months, and Cosby’s deposition, now public, is devastating, as is the testimony of some 47 other women who have subsequently come forward with similar stories of being drugged and then molested, assaulted or raped by Cosby while rendered unconscious or semiconscious.
Temple’s problem, according to Prof. Angel, is that its current Board of Trustees Chair Patrick O’Conner was Cosby’s attorney and a Temple trustee during the Constand case, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed payment by Cosby. Since Constand had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of that settlement, and the Cosby deposition was sealed, nobody outside the case knew of Cosby’s admission under oath to providing knock-out drugs to the young women he was offering to “mentor,” and with whom he admitted having sex. But clearly O’Connor, as Cosby’s attorney at the time, knew exactly what Cosby had said. He also knew that before the case was settled out of court, 13 other women had offered to testify about similar alleged abuse by Cosby (no doubt a factor in Cosby’s decision to settle).
Angel says Cosby’s belated resignation from his trustee position is not enough. She further says O’Connor, partner in one of Philadelphia’s most powerful law firms, had a serious conflict of interest in serving as as a trustee of the university at the same time as he was representing fellow trustee Cosby in a case involving abuse of a junior level employee of the university (a violation not just of law but of Temple’s sexual abuse regulation). She says O’Connor should have either resigned his position or been forced out by the rest of the board. Instead the board later elevated him to chair of that body which runs the school — a position he still holds, and from which he still defends Cosby.
Hear the full interview, which aired last week on PRN.fm’s weekly program This Can’t Be Happening!