Who's on trial here - Cosby or his accuser?

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown for a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.

BILL COSBY'S tattered reputation might be front and center now, but so is that of his alleged local victim, Andrea Constand.

My mind couldn't help but go there Tuesday evening as I read about the latest installment in the Cosby comedown earlier in the day in the courthouse in Norristown.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. was on the witness stand for nearly six hours telling a judge that although he believed Constand's allegations, he had concerns over inconsistencies in her story.

He pointed out that it took Constand, a former director of operations for the Temple University women's basketball team, a year to notify authorities after the alleged sexual abuse in January 2004. (She claimed that Cosby, with whom she had been friendly, gave her pills that made her pass out before sex. After the alleged incident, she reportedly had additional contact with him in person and over the phone.)

"The lack of prompt complaint, the inability to gather forensic evidence from a home or a person, was one piece," Castor testified. "The contacting of a civil lawyer before going to police was another piece."

I wasn't in the courtroom, and I don't claim to know what happened between Cosby and Constand, but I do know that there's no playbook for how rape victims are supposed to act.

Many are reluctant to come forward, mainly because they're afraid people won't believe them. The vast majority of sexual assaults are never reported to police. For a variety of reasons, most rapists never get so much as a wrist slap. The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network estimates that 98 percent of rapists get away with their crimes.

Think about Constand for a moment: She was making allegations against Dr. Huxtable from The Cosby Show. America's Dad. We all loved him.

She must have been terrified, not to mention ashamed of what she claimed had happened late one night in January 2004. She probably even blamed herself for allowing herself to be alone with Cosby in his Cheltenham mansion. She may still be second-guessing herself for not immediately calling the cops.

Castor, who was the D.A. at the time, saw problems with her case against Cosby and decided not to pursue it. Dropping the case, Castor figured, would free Cosby to testify in the civil lawsuit that Constand had brought against him. That case ended up being settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

But since then, more than 50 women from around the country have accused the former TV funnyman of sexual misconduct.

Kevin Steele, the newly installed D.A., reopened the case last year, and Cosby was formally charged in December.

Tuesday's pre-trial hearing was an effort by Cosby's lawyers to get the case thrown out by saying there had been a non-prosecution agreement. Proceedings are scheduled to resume Wednesday.

No doubt, Constand, who's from Canada, will be paying close attention.

On Monday she tweeted out a quote from writer T.F. Hodge:

"Success is not determined by the outcome. The outcome is the result of having already decided that you are successful to begin with."

That's good advice, if you can pull it off.

- This column contains information from the Associated Press.

armstrj@phillynews.com

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