Patricia Leary Steuer is a classically trained singer who graduated in 1978 from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Music. She was introduced to Bill Cosby at UMASS soon after graduating and he offered to mentor her in a singing career. She is one of more than 60 women who have come forward since 2005 to share their stories of being drugged and assaulted by Mr. Cosby.
In 1980, a few months after she was assaulted, Patricia met the man who would become her husband, Marc Steuer. In 1981 they relocated from Stamford, Connecticut to Palo Alto. She worked as a Training & Development Specialist for Hermenet, Inc. of San Francisco from 1982 - 1985. When her son was 3 years old, she made a decision to be a stay-at-home parent. Between 1987 and 2000, she was a dedicated community volunteer. She served as an officer in the Portola Valley PTA and was an elected member of the Portola Valley School Board for two terms. She also volunteered as a Grief Counselor and Counselor Supervisor for Kara - a peer grief counseling organization in Palo Alto - from 1990-1993.
In support of Andrea Constand, Mrs. Steuer first came forward as one of thirteen Jane Doe’s in 2005 when Andrea became the first woman to attempt to have criminal charges filed against Bill Cosby for drugging and assaulting her. At that time, the District Attorney in Montgomery County, PA refused to file charges due to insufficient evidence. Therefore, Ms. Constand filed a civil suit against him. Cosby settled the suit because he didn’t want thirteen women to testify in court regarding a pattern of predatory behavior. Settling the lawsuit effectively silenced all of us. We did not know each other’s identities and had no contact information for one another.
in 2014 an African American comedian named Hannibal Buress called Mr. Cosby someone who “raped women” during one of his comedy routines in Philadelphia. A local area journalist made a video of his performance and posted it online. That video went viral. Slowly at first, more Cosby Survivors began to come forward.
Long before Andrea Constand succeeded in having a newly elected District Attorney file criminal charges on her behalf in 2016, the Survivors began efforts in their own states to extend or abolish the Statutes of Limitation regarding the reporting of sexual assault and rape. As a result of those testimonies and efforts, the California Assembly voted to abolish the Statutes.
Although the California Assembly Bill and similar Bills passed in other states allow survivors more time to gather the courage to come forward, Mrs. Steuer strongly believes that the missing foundation for our criminal justice system regarding crimes committed against women is the absence of a ratified Equal Rights Amendment to our Constitution. Without that foundation in place, women have no equal rights and protections under the law. It is this lack of equality that creates a culture in which decisions like Judge Aaron Persky’s ruling in the Brock Turner case can arise.
Patricia supports the Campaign to remove Judge Persky because if successful, it will send a message to other Judges about the kinds of rulings made in similar cases involving women who are raped and appropriate justice for those women.