It’s not every day that a lawyer gets to go toe-to-toe with a man who was once among America’s most beloved figures. Kristen Gibbons Feden did it in 2018 when she took on Bill Cosby, who was standing trial for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
It wasn’t her first shot at it, either. A former member of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Feden was involved with the first trial, which ended in a hung jury. So when she had a second shot, there was never a question whether she’d take it. “As a prosecutor, your job is very difficult,” she says. “You have to ask someone to get on the stand and be subject to public humiliation, public dissection, in a room where the person who created that trauma for you is going to be there staring you down.”
The trial came to an end on April 26, 2018, after a passionate closing statement Feden delivered with M. Stewart Ryan. Cosby was found guilty and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. It was the first successful high-profile case in the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up. “I’m hopeful that the climate by which victims feel comfortable to come forward has changed,” says Feden. “I hope the public is more educated and informed about many of the misconceptions people hold about rape victims.”
The victory is all the more impressive given the fact that, prior to the trial, Feden moved to Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young in Philadelphia and was litigating for other clients there. At Stradley Ronon, she focuses on “institutional responses to sexual and gender-based harassment and abuse, ethical concerns, discrimination [and] other misconduct,” along with employment and labor concerns for corporate, governmental and educational clients. “A lot of my work currently entails internal investigations,” says Feden, who lives in Montgomery County.
Feden furthers her work in sex crimes, domestic violence and human trafficking through related pro-bono cases at Stradley Ronon and by sitting on the boards of AEquitas and the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County. Through all of her work, she hopes a simple but powerful message rings clear: “You can seek justice.”