MA--Letter from mom of Bill Cosby victim

                     An open letter to Dr. Camille Cosby, from one Mother to another Mother

After meeting your husband in 1988, I felt that I knew you both.  The similarities in our lives as young adults in the mid 60’s were striking!  Both our husband’s names are “Bill” for William, both born in July and the same sign, both college graduates, both black fraternity men, both successful in their professions, and both with a unique sense of humor too.  As couples we met in the same city of Washington, DC and visited the same venues as dating couples: Ben’s Chilly Bowl, Rock Creek Park, Howard’s campus and games, The Cellar Door, and others. You married in 1964 in Olney, MD not far from where we later lived. We married in 1965 in DC.  All of our children have pursued higher education. Our son was in college in 1988. Our value system is rather “old school” as is yours from what I know.    

I was in your home, the brownstone on the Upper East Side of the city.  It looked and felt like our home minus the Bill Cosby Awards on the mantel. We were invited there to discuss our daughter’s future which your husband said he was interested in promoting.  We were in shock and in awe to be in his presence; Bill Cosby the all American father, Dr. Huxtable! Oh, did I mention I was a nurse in OB, a Director of a 2,500 per year Birthing Unit in Gaithersburg, MD back in 1988?

How did we find ourselves in your home?   Our daughter was sent to FACES, Sue Charney’s agency.  Jena was signed on the spot and sent from Sue’s office to the Kaufman-Astoria Studio in Queens to meet your husband.  He called me at work that afternoon and wanted Bill and I to come to NYC as soon as possible. I was in shock that my daughter was in Bill Cosby’s office! He was very gracious that day paying for Jena’s cab fare to catch her train back to Washington.

Several phone conversations followed both with your husband and Ms. Charney.  Jena was to begin living in an apartment with other models, a secure building, and start a career in modeling and acting.  We were to come up, see the unit, and meet with your husband which we did. We spent an entire afternoon and evening with dinner provided by your cook at the brownstone. I remember this visit vividly.  Many assurances were forthcoming by your husband as to the safety, career and opportunities that would be afforded our daughter.  With these assurances we left her in NYC.

Jena didn’t tell us of all that happened to her until well over a year later.  It took even longer for her to share the poem she wrote about your husband.  It is one no mother or father would like to believe any young girl would write, especially not one’s daughter! Some of the words are “Big Man with a Plan, a thief, a hypocrite and whore, high-priced kin, incestuous, baby lust”.  Very heart wrenching to read!

You have met Jena and perhaps you will remember her.  View the original clip “Shower Me With Your Love” by Surface on You Tube. Jena is the love interest of Bernard Jackson, lead singer.  Jena got this job herself, with neither your husband’s nor Sue Charney’s assistance.

What happened to our only daughter is as follows.  Your husband crossed boundaries that never should have been breached. He shattered her innocence. And for a while even her relationship with her own father, who was so similar, was broken too. Natural transference you know from Psychology.  Oh, did I say our Bills even look alike, color, height, stature, mannerisms, and voice? Yours and my Bill’s undergraduate degrees are in Psychology as well.

Jena tried to convince herself that it was all “casting-couch behavior” but, it was much more sinister.  I will spare you from reading the exact details and me in writing those details.  But, her inner brokenness was heart breaking.  She came home with an inner light extinguished, and still has not fully regained that spark. Jena did graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, and obtained a Master’s Degree.  Some of her inner light flickered back on in 2005 when she wanted to testify in the case in Philadelphia.  We were going to go with her to do that.  She was a “Jane Doe”, although we all would have gone public if that had been necessary. Her light has gotten somewhat stronger as she has spoken her truth this past November.

All victims of sexual abuse and trauma need counseling. We could not find anyone that would believe her, a second terrible blow! To be so hurt and violated, and then not be believed!  Resolution has not been easily forthcoming. We all remained in the shadows of your husband’s sick behavior.  We are only one so affected family, Jena suffered but we did also, overwhelming guilt.  We sent her to him! We were in our 40’s that year, not 17, why didn’t we see some red flags? Were flags there? We have searched and searched our memories.

Why back then didn’t we speak up? It was already over a year old. There was no proof, only “he said, she said, we said.” Authorities were not even doing rape exams then. Your husband had enormous funds, we had two children in college.  Although living well, we had no funds to take on his personae.  We had everything to lose including a very fragile victim. We all could have been further ridiculed by our community. But, we have always wanted to speak our truth to begin real healing.

Why now? Because it is the truth, and so many prompted by a growing intolerance of sexual abuse in churches, schools, sports, the armed forces and our society are saying enough of this abuse! It has to stop! Actions and events need to be out of the shadows and into the light and known. Dr. Camille, read some of the information on rape and abuse trauma, the outcomes, and statistics, and resolution.  It is easy to research. You can find some excellent sites for comprehensive information. Start with RAINN.

I thank GOD that we didn’t do something stupid, like avenging her stolen innocence, an I SPY story for sure! Now, I pray for you and your husband every day. I am quite sure you have knowledge of these events as you have lived with the man for over 51 years and know his habits, despite what your statement said. For you and your Bill, I read Psalms 6, vs 1-4, and 7; Psalms 25, vs 15-18. Oh, did I mention that we both have Catholic family backgrounds? I also offer daily a prayer by St Francis de Sales for the victims that have lived 10 to 50 years with the remnants of their own brokenness.  I am sure you have a Bible to read the Psalms. The prayer for the victims is as follows:

“Do not fear what may happen tomorrow to the changes in life, rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, GOD whose very own you are will lead you safely through all things. And, when you can not stand it, GOD will carry you in his arms.  Do not look forward in fear, the same understanding Father who cares for you today will care for you then and every day.  HE will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace; put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

May we all find some peace.  Even in hearing the truth, it is both liberating and hurtful, causing an opening of old wounds that need to heal. Only in truth will come wellness, healing and forgiveness.  This is our truth. May you and Bill speak the truth, and be afforded peace for your souls. Judy Thompson. cc to Dr. Camille Cosby, Attorney Francis D. Dibble, Jr., 1500 Main St., P.O. Box 15507, Springfield, MA 01115  

Showing 7 comments

  • Judy Jones
    commented 2015-03-11 18:13:07 -0500
    Thanks to this brave mother for having the courage to speak her truth. This has got to be a very emotional difficult thing to do, but her daughter must be very proud.
    Truth: this mother is to be admired. Many family members refuse to believe their own children when they say they have been sexually abused. My mother refused to believe her own son when he told her that he was sexually abused by our long time parish priest. I have a very hard time understanding that mindset.

    Also, as far as the supposedly red flags that this mother was trying to find with their relationship with Bill Cosby. We can all be fooled at least once.
    Something to keep in mind-
    Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims and sometimes even their family members. They also appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and you may think they would never harm anyone. They have to be this way, in order to not get caught and to continue to abuse. They devote lots of time and energy building trust with their victims by giving them money and gifts. They tend to make their prey feel that they are special and loved.

    Sexual predators are often powerful and well-loved, we must overcome the dangerous myth that because someone is successful or warm or caring, he or she couldn’t have done that! It would be comforting if those who preyed on the vulnerable were obvious social misfits whose appearance would somehow set off alarm bells and give us the willies or the creeps. They rarely do. Usually, predators are among the last people we would suspect of sexually violating others. At a party, the predator isn’t some oddball sitting alone in a corner because others feel uncomfortable with him. Most often, the predator is the guy throwing the party.

    It’s extremely rare that a sexual predator has only one victim. Some have many. So let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed, will find the courage to come forward and contact law matter how long ago it happened.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Thank you to this mother for breaking her silence.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, [email protected]
    (SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, teachers, bishops, ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc)
  • Christine Johnson
    commented 2015-03-11 16:47:09 -0500
    Thankful for this mother and all parents who at least try to go up against the big powers that abuse ..
    and thankful for social media. because without it, we would not be hearing the truths of those wounded by powerful men and women.. and religions and government etc..
  • Judith Thompson
    commented 2015-03-11 16:10:37 -0500
    Would rather use the word Survivor in place of victim. In becoming a Survivor you take back and build your strength and personhood. May everyone that is abused gather strenght and light to usher others through the pain to self victory over it. Become a SURVIVOR!!!
  • Carol Harris
    commented 2015-03-11 15:01:17 -0500
    Well spoken, Judy, good for you and your family!
  • Judith Thompson
    commented 2015-03-11 14:56:19 -0500
    Our pleasure, we both, Bill and Judy, hope it helps others to come forward.
  • Rebecca Ianni
    commented 2015-03-11 14:35:26 -0500
    What a brave and wonderful mother. As a victim of abuse I know how hard it was on my mother. She often asks herself why didn’t she know. She feels guilty for what happened to me when the fault solely belongs to the abuser. Even though telling the truth can be hard and very painful it is also very healing. I commend you and your daughter for speaking out and telling the truth. Your courage will inspire other victims of sexual abuse to come forward so they can begin to heal. It is so important that we work to create an environment so that victims will feel safe when they are ready to come forward. You have helped create this safe environment by telling others that speaking the truth can start the healing process. Thank you,
    [email protected]
  • @ tweeted this page. 2015-03-11 12:13:33 -0500

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant