BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Johns Hopkins University has revoked the honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby, following his conviction Thursday on multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The university made the announcement in a statement Thursday night.
“In light of Bill Cosby’s conviction on charges of felony aggravated indecent assault, the Johns Hopkins University’s Board of Trustees today revoked his 2004 honorary degree, thus terminating any association between the university and Mr. Cosby.
The university conferred the honorary degree on the comedian and actor in 2004 based on his professional accomplishments to that date. At the time the honorary degree was conferred, the university was unaware of the allegations that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.
Johns Hopkins honors the principle of due process. The jury’s decision today is the result of a fair and independent process. Accordingly, the Board of Trustees has decided to revoke Mr. Cosby’s degree.
As a university, we stand in firm opposition to sexual assault, whether on our campuses or elsewhere. This decision underscores that opposition.”
Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, completing the spectacular late-in-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America’s Dad.
Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
He stared straight ahead as the verdict was read but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele after the prosecutor demanded Cosby be sent immediately to jail. Steele told the judge Cosby has an airplane and might flee.
Cosby angrily denied he has a plane and called Steele an “a–hole,” shouting, “I’m sick of him!”
Judge Steven O’Neill decided Cosby can remain free on $1 million bail while he awaits sentencing but restricted him to Montgomery County, where his home is. No sentencing date was set.
Cosby waved to the crowd outside the courthouse, got into an SUV and left without saying anything. His lawyer Tom Mesereau declared “the fight is not over” and said he will appeal.
Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of Cosby’s accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.
“Justice has been done!” celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Cosby’s accusers, said on the courthouse steps. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated 14 hours over two days.
The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors had more courtroom weapons at their disposal than they did the first time: They put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too.