Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor was mentioned by Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill as a potential witness in Bill Cosby’s retrial twice before it began on Monday.
O’Connor could be called as a witness because he represented Cosby in a 2005 civil suit agreement between Cosby and Andrea Constand, the central accuser. The suit could be called into evidence.
Temple is already deeply rooted in the Cosby saga — at the crux of this case is a former university trustee who has been accused of sexually assaulting a former university employee. The inclusion of O’Connor, who maintains an important leadership role at Temple, only further entwines the university in the Cosby scandal.
Despite the university’s deep involvement, it has historically declined to comment. Unlike other local universities, Temple never officially cut ties with Cosby or denounced him based on more than 60 sexual assault accusations against him.
We hope the inclusion of O’Connor in the retrial will finally break the university’s silence.
For the first time, O’Connor may be mandated to speak directly about the amount of money Cosby paid Constand in the 2005 settlement. He may finally be required to tell the public about his time defending Cosby against sexual assault accusations.
This is a major change of pace for a man who has constantly declined to comment, both to The Temple News and other media outlets, about his involvement with the former trustee on trial.
Temple’s past unwillingness to discuss Cosby leads us to believe that O’Connor’s testimony may be the only time a prominent university official will speak publicly and honestly about this.
It’s a shame we’ve had to wait until now for a chance at transparency. If O’Connor is called to the stand, we’ll be listening.