What Andrea Constand’s Testimony Meant to the Other Cosby Accusers – Vanity Fair
In the beginning, they didn’t even have names. Such was the fear and, in some instances, shame, of the 13 anonymous women who came forward to testify about similar experiences with Cosby to support Constand in her 2005 civil case, brought after a local district attorney declined to charge Cosby based on her criminal complaint; the attorney later said he believed Constand could best find justice by filing a civil suit. Cosby eventually settled by paying Constand an undisclosed amount in 2006, which came with a confidentiality agreement.
“I was a Jane Doe,” says Donna Motsinger, 75. “At that time, nobody was interested, nobody tried to call me or talk to me. We would follow whatever Dolores [Troiani, Constand’s attorney] told us. And then Dolores said, ‘We settled,’ and I threw the papers away and moved on again.
“Throughout the years, I would think, ‘I wonder what happened to that woman?’ ”
Constand’s case was almost miraculously reborn in July 2015, when a judge ordered the release of Cosby’s depositions in her civil case, saying he’d become a “public moralist” on his national speaking tour in which he lambasted segments of the African-American community. The damning depositions, in which Cosby admitted giving drugs to at least one woman for sex, were enough for the new district attorney, Kevin Steele, to reopen the criminal charges his predecessor declined to bring. After Constand agreed to once again stand up in a new criminal complaint against Cosby, he was charged with three counts of second-degree aggravated indecent assault and was publicly arraigned on December 30, 2015, two weeks before the 12-year Pennsylvania statute of limitations ran out.
One day in early 2015, while driving down a New Mexico highway near her home, Motsinger’s cell phone rang.
“Hi, my name is Andrea Constand,” came the voice on the other end.
Motsinger is accustomed to celebrity, having served everyone from__Neil Young__ to the Rolling Stones and, yes, Bill Cosby as a waitress at the Trident, during the Sausalito, California hotspot’s 1960s and 1970s heyday. But the call from Andrea Constand was practically celestial.
“I was shocked,” she recalls. “I never thought I would put a voice to the name from so many years ago. So I was like, ‘Really!? WOW! Hi!!!!’
“From then on, we talked almost every day,” she continues. “She’s hard to explain. She’s very high-energy, fun, lively, and strong. She’s a walking positive human being.”
A lover of the Southwest, Constand took regular vacations from her Canada massage business, and in March 2015 she called Motsinger to tell her she was heading to Arizona, where she attended college, and wanted to spend some time with her. Motsinger awaited her arrival at the Taos restaurant managed by her son. “Maybe it was that I was somebody who came forward for her back then,” Motsinger says of why she thinks Constand wanted to meet her. Maybe she wanted to somehow thank Motsinger for her support. Maybe she just wanted to meet a fellow accuser. Maybe she just wanted a friend.
Motsinger still doesn’t know why she contacted her. And it doesn’t matter. Because when she walked into the restaurant, she found a soul sister: six feet tall with impossibly unruly curly hair, a walking exclamation point. “I saw her coming, and I stood up, and she said, ‘Motsinger!!!’ and we hugged,” she says. “When Andrea enters a room, she’s a presence. She has a light in her face. She exudes love. Just super positive. Neither of us drink, but we said, ‘This calls for a margarita!’ ”
A friendship was instantly forged. They went on hikes through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. They shared their love of dogs, family, clean eating, and spirituality. “Work is a big part of what she does,” says Motsinger of Constand’s massage business. “She’s into meditating and yoga and she loves to bike the mountains. She can go 20 miles. Blows my mind.” They talked about how they were “both spiritual creatures on a journey.”
They discussed everything but “him,” the comedian forever at the borders of their lives. “We did not even mention Cosby,” says Motsinger. “Everybody knows him. Nobody knows her, Andrea Constand. I will never talk about ‘him’ again. And Andrea never gives anybody any advice about him. She wants everybody to make their own decision, their own path.”