The woman at the center of the comedian's sexual assault conviction is worried about the implications of this ruling.

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Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby Trial
Andrea Constand returns to the courtroom during a lunch break at the sentencing hearing for the sexual assault trial of entertainer Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse September 24, 2018 in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
| Credit: David Maialetti-Pool/Getty Images

Bill Cosby is a free man once again after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his sexual assault conviction on Wednesday. Some people are happy about this, such as Cosby's former sitcom co-star Phylicia Rashad, but the women who tried for years to get the world to believe that the formerly beloved comedian assaulted them feels differently.

Although Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 60 women, his 2018 conviction was based on his alleged 2004 assault of Andrea Constand, then a Temple University employee who considered him a mentor. When Bruce Castor, then the district attorney of Montgomery County, investigated Constand's accusation in 2005, he decided not to criminally prosecute Cosby. By declaring this publicly, he insured that when Constand brought a civil suit against Cosby, the accused would not be able to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. As a result, Cosby gave sworn depositions in the civil suit in which he admitted to drugging women he wanted to have sex with.

Castor's successor as Montgomery County DA later used these depositions to finally convict Cosby in 2018. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that convicting Cosby on the basis of incriminating testimony he gave while unable to invoke the Fifth Amendment was a violation of due process and his constitutional rights. In a statement posted to Twitter, Constand and her lawyers Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz expressed disappointment with this ruling, and wondered whether it would have a chilling effect on other sexual assault survivors.

"Today's majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action," they said in their statement.

The court's decision relied on a public press release from Castor in 2005 saying he wouldn't prosecute Cosby, but in their statement Constand, Troiani, and Kivitz said "the press release had no meaning or significance to us in 2005." They also noted that Castor's office did not consult with them about any decisions or deals.

Read the full statement above.

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