After Bill Cosby’s conviction Thursday for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, many of his other accusers are feeling vindicated.
For Kristina Ruehli, who alleges Cosby drugged and tried to sexually assault her in 1965, the conviction represents a watershed moment for women’s rights.
“We’ve got the snowball rolling but this is not the end. It’s still moving,” Ruehli tells PEOPLE. “But it’s going be an avalanche. I think it will really pave the way in the future for women. We all spoke truth to power.”
On Thursday, Montgomery County jurors deliberated for about 14 hours over two days before handing down the guilty verdict. Afterward, Cosby was freed on bond by the judge.
Cosby was convicted on three charges, each of which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years: aggravated indecent assault: penetration with lack of consent; penetration while unconscious; and penetration after administrating an intoxicant.
State law could allow a maximum possible penalty of 10 years per charge — or 30 years total, but the judge will decide whether Cosby will serve his terms concurrently or consecutively.
Cosby assaulted Constand, 45, in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004.
Cosby, who did not testify during his trial, denies similar allegations from more than 60 women.
Ruehli was Jane Doe Number 12 in Andrea Constand’s 2005 civil lawsuit against Cosby – which Constand settled in 2006. Ruehli claims she was drugged by Cosby in December 1965 while she was a secretary at his talent agency.
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In 2015, Reuhli filed a defamation lawsuit against Cosby, claiming that public comments made about her by Cosby’s team after she and other women came forward were defamatory. After a judge denied Cosby’s motion to dismiss her case in 2016, Ruehli, feeling vindicated, withdrew her case.
“I put my money where my mouth was – I spent nearly $ 100,000 on lawyers – to prove that I was telling the truth … about this monster,” Ruehli previously told PEOPLE. “I have stood up for myself. Now it’s time to go back to my happy life, lose some weight and weed my garden.”
Ruehli says she has put the past behind her and is feeling peaceful.
“I’m feeling a renewed faith in the justice system,” she tells PEOPLE. “I feel this is sort of confirmation in the belief systems I was taught all my life.”
She adds, “Something in my being that always believed in right from wrong, and now I can continue to believe that given sunlight, that there is justice.”
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