Montgomery County's incoming District Attorney Kevin Steele promised during his campaign to be "tough" on Bill Cosby over allegations that he sexually assaulted a number of victims and just one month after getting elected he's moving forward with that promise.
Steele, who was elected in November, made the issue of charging Cosby for sexual assault central to his campaign against Bruce Castor, a Republican and former District Attorney, who was vying to return to office after serving eight years as a county commissioner.
In an October advertisement attacking Castor, Steele, who takes office Tuesday but currently serves as the county's First Assistant District Attorney, accused the former district attorney of refusing to prosecute Bill Cosby when allegations against the comedian first emerged in 2005.
Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who is now the lead plaintiff in Cosby's felony sexual assault charge, first filed charges against Cosby in 2005.
But Castor declined to charge Cosby with sexual assault even though he told press in 2014 that he remembers thinking Cosby “probably did do something.”
In an interview with NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Castor said that he believed there was “insufficient, admissible, and reliable evidence upon which to base a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Castor added that Constand’s then one-year-delay in speaking out prevented police from being able to test whether or not she was drugged and gather other physical evidence.
Montgomery County's outgoing District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Steele revisited the investigation into Constand's allegations against Cosby this year.
In September, two county detectives traveled to Canada to reinterview Constand about the alleged assault, according to the Associated Press.
Jennifer Storm, the Pennsylvania commonwealth's victim advocate, praised Steele on Wednesday after the charges were announced for "not giving up on this victim when so many others had in the past."
"Sometimes justice moves slowly and often for victims in high profile sexual assault cases, it never comes," she wrote on Facebook. "The victims who have watched their accuser walk above the law because of his status will hopefully feel some redemption in the face of all the speculation and condemnation they have endured over these years."
Steele positioned himself throughout his campaign as a passionate advocate for victims of a variety of crimes, including domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse.
His victory in November was celebrated as historic because he was the first democrat to be elected as district attorney in Montgomery county and promised justice for Cosby's victims.
"You made a choice to take it forward, to fight for victims, to fight for people who have been the subject of crimes," he told a chanting crowd during his victory speech in November according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "And that is where I will continue to make a difference every day. . . . We're going to take a great office and we're going to make it greater."
Leticia Miranda is a retail reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Leticia Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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