“Empowering,” she told The Daily Beast.
“The district attorney gave me a chance to speak my truth, to speak out and say, ‘This is what happened to me’ and it’s wrong. And he has to be held accountable.”
Cosby “had to sit there and listen,” she said. “He had no choice.”
Just like they had no choice in what he allegedly did to them.
Thomas wants to encourage other sexual assault victims to come forward as well.
“Hopefully what this verdict does is empower people to find their voice and to reclaim whatever dignity they felt they were robbed of; whatever power they felt was taken for them,” she said. “If you have the opportunity to face your accuser in a court, do it.
“You can look right at them and say, ‘You didn’t win,’” she said. “You didn’t strip me of my dignity or my integrity or my power. I have it.”
Thomas was the first of six women to testify at Cosby’s retrial about being drugged and sexually assaulted by the comedian. Cosby, 80, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. Cosby will be sentenced within the next 60 to 90 days and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Thomas was 24 when her agent at Jo Farrell’s JF Images modeling agency in Denver told her Cosby wanted to be her mentor. She was thrilled.
Cosby spoke to her and her parents on the phone, then invited her to Reno, Nevada, where he was performing at Harrah’s. When she arrived at the Reno airport on April 2, 1984, however, she was whisked away to a home outside Reno where Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her.
Thomas said she didn’t spend much time thinking about the verdict after her time on the stand, despite the grueling cross-examination she endured by Cosby defense attorney Kathleen Bliss.
“This is going to sound callous,” she said. “I think I was so honored to be able to have my voice and be able to speak in court and get that opportunity and after that it was out of my hands. I think I just literally let it go.
“I suppose there was another part of me that thought this could be another mistrial,” she said. “I know what the truth is but I realized the jury could go either way.”
Which doesn’t mean she’s not happy about the verdict. She’s just not someone who tears up easily.
“The thing that really does get me emotional is thinking about my three daughters,” she said. “Bless their little hearts they were so supportive. All three of them called me when they heard the verdict. Two of them were in tears. My third daughter said, ‘Mom, I am in tears but I was in the middle of buying a car when I heard,’” she said, laughing.
What also stirs her emotions is “when I think about them and their friends and what this means to so many people who will now discover that it’s worth it to go through all of the garbage you have to go through,” she said. “It will work. It does work. You just have to knuckle down and go through it.
“I’m hoping this is a step in the right direction for future generations,” she said. “It’s about my kids and their friends and other victims. Did we take a step forward in our evolution? I hope so. We’ll see.”