SAN ANSELMO (CBS SF) — As Helen Hayes watched the Bill Cosby sentence play out on her television set, a sense of relief from emotions penned up over decades swept over her body.
Hayes was among the women who stepped forward in December 2014 to make the world aware that Cosby had sexually assaulted them. She claimed that Cosby groped her breast at a Pebble Beach restaurant in 1973.
“I finally flipped around on the TV and I saw it happen,” she told KPIX 5. “Then it was like I just lost 30 pounds. It’s just unbelievable.”
Hayes said the encounter with Cosby was brief but its impact on her has lasted for decades.
“I said — “What the hell do you think you’re doing?’ and he turned around and said — ‘Have a nice dinner ladies’ and he was gone and I’ve never seen him to this day,” she said.
After the 2014 news conference with attorney Gloria Allred and two other alleged Cosby victims, Hayes has focused on helping other sexual assaults victims. She has just written a book called — “Secrets, Shame and Silence” — about the long-term impact of the crimes.
Hayes said she wrestled with the decision of whether or not to travel to Pennsylvania for Cosby’s trial.
“I was going to, but then I thought, I’m not going to give him my time and money,” she said. “I’m just not.”
Hayes said she hopes Cosby serves his full sentence and she will continue to advocate for other sexual assault victims.
“As long as I’m on this earth, I will do whatever I can,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cosby spent Tuesday night in prison alone, in a single cell near the infirmary, as he began his three-to-10-year sentence.
He was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his gated estate in 2004 after being barraged with similar accusations from more than 60 women over the past five decades.
“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said at Tuesday’s sentencing. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”