Topless protester arrested at Bill Cosby trial says she was reclaiming ownership of victims' bodies

A protester arrested at Bill Cosby trial says she went topless for victims.

April 10, 2018, 4:56 PM

A former actress on "The Cosby Show" who was arrested Monday when she charged after Bill Cosby outside a Pennsylvania court while topless told ABC News she staged her protest to reclaim ownership of "all victims' bodies."

Nicolle Rochelle, 39, who lives in France, said in a statement to ABC News that she is a member of an international women's movement of topless female activists called Femen.

PHOTO: Protesters shout as Bill Cosby arrives for the first day of his second trial for sexual assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., April 9, 2018.
Protesters shout as Bill Cosby arrives for the first day of his second trial for sexual assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., April 9, 2018.
Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

"Protesting Bill Cosby was important for us because he is a man who has been disempowering women's bodies for decades," said Rochelle, who is originally from Little Falls, New Jersey.

The 80-year-old Cosby was being escorted into the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, around 8:30 a.m. Monday for the first day of his retrial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, when Rochelle jumped over a police barricade and charged toward the comedian. On her body she had the words "Cosby," "rapist" and "Women's Lives Matter" written in red ink and the names of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault written on her torso in black ink.

Police and sheriff's deputies quickly stopped Rochelle, hurling her into a bush and handcuffing her just feet away from Cosby.

She was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and later released.

Rochelle explained that by confronting Cosby topless outside the courthouse she was "symbolically taking back the ownership of all the victims' bodies and redefining it as a political tool as opposed to a sexual object."

PHOTO: Bill Cosby arrives for the first day of his second trial for sexual assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., April 9, 2018.
Bill Cosby arrives for the first day of his second trial for sexual assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., April 9, 2018.
Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

"When I was 12 years old I did recur on 'The Cosby Show' but regardless of whether I had been on the show or not, I would have been there ... protesting on behalf of Femen and for the rights of women worldwide," she said in her statement.

Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Cosby, told ABC News that he was guiding the comedian, who suffers from degenerative eye disease, into the courtroom when the incident unfolded.

"She stood up on the railing, ripped off a black leather jacket, and jumped in front of Cosby and yelled, 'Look at me! He raped me!'" Wyatt said.

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