-- Bill Cosby's youngest child, Evin Cosby, has spoken out in support of her father, saying he has been unfairly judged by those who believe he's guilty of sexual misconduct.
Cosby has been charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault stemming from an alleged encounter with accuser Andrea Constand in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a statement obtained by ABC News and printed in full below, Evin Cosby defended her father as a barrier-breaking comedian who worked hard to provide for his family.
"I am his fourth daughter. He raised me to go to college, start my own business, and be my own woman. He is helping me raise my children and teach them family values. I know that my father loves me, loves my sisters and my mother," she said. "He loves and respects women. He is not abusive, violent or a rapist."
Constand, who has accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her, first went to the police with her claims in 2005, but Bruce Castor, then the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, declined to bring charges against Cosby. Constand then filed a civil lawsuit, in which she accused the TV star of battery, sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Thirteen other women, including Beth Ferrier and Barbara Bowman, approached Constand's attorneys and offered to testify on her behalf, but the case never went to court. Instead, it was settled confidentially and sealed in 2006, but not before Cosby was deposed over the course of four days in the months prior. A portion of those testimonies was unsealed in 2015, and it was revealed that Cosby admitted to giving Quaaludes to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex. He also defended himself against Constand's claims, but acknowledged that they had a sexual encounter.
“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything," he said. "And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."
In December 2015, shortly before the statute of limitations on Constand's claims expired, a new district attorney brought the criminal charge against Cosby, which Cosby unsuccessfully petitioned to have dismissed. In the months since, Cosby and his lawyers have returned to court on multiple occasions to determine the particulars of the trial, which is slated to begin in June. In February, a judge agreed to the defense's request to bring in a jury from outside Montgomery County, but declined to change the venue of the trial, which will be held in the area. Though prosecutors wanted to put 13 women on the stand to illustrate what they perceive to be a pattern, a judge ruled that the jury will hear from just one.
That person, identified as Victim No. 6, claimed in court documents that she first met Cosby in 1990 when she was an assistant to his personal appearance agent. She alleged that six years later, when she was 29 and he was 58, he invited her to lunch at a hotel in Los Angeles, suggested she take a pill with wine to relax, and then, after she was rendered unconscious, she awoke to him sexually assaulting her in a bed. Cosby, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct and/or drugging, has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Evin Cosby, 40, acknowledged that her father may not be a perfect person and noted that although he had extramarital affairs, "that was between him and my mother." Like every American, she noted, he deserves to be assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
"The public persecution of my dad, my kids' grandfather, and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a 'rapist' without ever knowing the truth and who shame our family and our friends for defending my dad, makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children," she said. "When people are so quick to cast hate and make accusations of horrific violence against my dad, they are callous in their carelessness about the harm they are causing to others."
Evin Cosby's Full Statement to ABC News:
The public persecution of my dad, my kids' grandfather, and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a 'rapist' without ever knowing the truth and who shame our family and our friends for defending my dad, makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children. When people are so quick to cast hate and make accusations of horrific violence against my dad, they are callous in their carelessness about the harm they are causing to others.
I thought when my brother Ennis was murdered, that was the worst nightmare of all time. It's so hurtful to this day. I try to block out the day he was killed, but that pain has only worsened in these last years. For some reason, my family's pain has been a trigger for people to seize upon us harder.
On the same day that Ennis was murdered, a woman came out claiming that my father had a 'love child.' She was arrested for extortion. She was not my father's daughter.
On the day I gave birth to my son, another women came out, but that case was dismissed too -- the district attorney investigated her claims also and didn't press charges.
Two years ago, and over ten years later, several women came out. Like the woman from 2005, they claimed to have been raped and drugged. But, like the one from 2005, their stories didn't match up. But instead of going through the criminal justice system, these stories never got investigated and just got repeated. They have been accepted as the truth.
My dad tried to defend himself. His lawyers tried to defend him, but they all got sued. People were constantly reaching out to me about why doesn't your dad say something. I kept saying he's trying, but the media is only interested in the stories of the women. Friends of ours tried to help, but the media wouldn't print what they said or knew. Our friends that spoke up were pressured to shut up. No one wanted to print their supportive words. We live in a scandalous country where the more sexualized and provocative the story, the more attention it gets. We get all sorts of mixed up messages in our society. We are told that we have fundamental rights to be innocent until proven guilty. But, if enough people think you are a bad person, you are branded a bad person and the media just reinforces that. My dad, like anyone in this country, deserves to be treated fairly under the law.
My dad broke barriers and raised the conscious of America on important topics, especially for the advancement of women. On 'The Cosby Show' he only depicted women as smart and accomplished. On 'The Cosby Show' and on 'A Different World' he took on then taboo subjects like menstrual cycles and rape, and even did a show on AIDS before anyone else would bring it up.
I am his 4th daughter. He raised me to go to college, start my own business, and be my own woman. He is helping me raise my children and teach them family values. I know that my father loves me, loves my sisters and my mother. He loves and respects women. He is not abusive, violent or a rapist. Sure, like many celebrities tempted by opportunity, he had his affairs, but that was between him and my mother. They have worked through it and moved on, and I am glad they did for them and for our family.
The harsh and hurtful accusations of things that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us. They have punished the talented people who were still earning money and feeding their families from my dad's shows and work. I am pleased that finally we are seeing the whole picture and seeing cases and claims dismissed from court. I just hope that those who pre-judged my dad are now willing to admit that they were wrong."