- Outcast Bill Cosby has turned into a virtual recluse, holed up at his estate in Shelburne Falls, Mass
- Cosby’s son Ennis, who was murdered in 1997, is buried beneath a herb garden on the property
- He occasionally orders coffee from Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters and sends a member of staff to pick it up but staff are forbidden from talking about him
- Cosby rarely ventures out of his secret lair as he prepares for a series of court battles with the dozens of women who have accused him of drugging and raping them
- Michael Eller, who runs Sawyer’s News Store in town told Daily Mail Online. ‘I don’t suppose he wants everyone staring at him.’
- Besides a main residence and five other buildings – including two mystery barn-like structures – Cosby has a swimming pool and a tennis court
Martin Gould In Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts For Dailymail.com
09:16 EST, 11 November 2015
09:22 EST, 11 November 2015
Hollywood, his fans and supporters—even his insurance company — have deserted Cosby. The last time he was seen in public was in May
Disgraced comic Bill Cosby has turned into a virtual recluse, holed up for weeks on end inside his huge Massachusetts estate.
He rarely ventures out of his super-secret lair high above the Deerfield River as he prepares for a series of court battles with the dozens of women who have accused him of drugging and raping them.
One year after the legendary comic fell from grace as women from his past began coming forward claiming that he had drugged and raped them, Cosby, 78, has become an outcast.
He knows that whatever the outcome of any court hearings, the image he painstakingly built up over decades as ‘America’s Dad,’ can never be recovered.
Hollywood, his fans and supporters—even his insurance company — have deserted him over the shocking allegations going back decades, and now Cosby can rely on only a few close family members and a handful of friends for support.
With his eyesight failing, Cosby stays on his massive compound on the outskirts of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts for weeks on end, locals say, never venturing into the quaint little town.
Behind the fences he can grieve not only for his own humiliating fall, but also for his beloved only son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 and is buried beneath a herb garden on the estate
‘Do you blame him?’ Michael Eller, who runs Sawyer’s News Store in town asked Daily Mail Online. ‘I don’t suppose he wants everyone staring at him.’
Camille, his wife of nearly 52 years, remains by his side, despite the ever-growing evidence that he not only betrayed her over and over again throughout their marriage, but also did it by spiking the drinks of the women he allegedly took advantage of.
Now, his huge fortune — estimated at more than $400 million — is the only thing that protects him from the disgrace that his actions have brought on him. He has more than enough to live out his life in splendid isolation, unless the courts can get to him.
His adopted hometown of Shelburne Falls is a quintessential New England town — covered for a few glorious weeks in the fall by a stunning array of oranges, reds and yellows as hundreds of thousands of trees prepare to shed their leaves.
It is known primarily for three things: the Bridge of Flowers, a disused trolley track that locals turned into a beautiful linear garden; Salmon Falls, a series of natural potholes, said to include the largest in the world — and Cosby.
But while visitors to the downtown area can easily admire the colorful array of blooms on the bridge in spring and wonder at the powers that produced the potholes, the chance of seeing the town’s most famous resident are virtually nil.
‘I’ve lived here 11 years and I’ve never seen him,’ said Eller ‘My wife saw him once, it was Election Day. People say he always comes down to vote, but that’s the only time anyone ever sees him.’
Retreat: Cosby and his wife Camille have 21 acres to shield them from the public. One year after the legendary comic fell from grace as women started to come forward claiming that he had drugged and raped them, Cosby, 78, has become an outcast. The property, shown here in exclusive aerial photographs, has at least five buildings, including the main house at the center of the photo
The main house on the Cosby estate can be seen from the road. But residents say sightings of Cosby and his wife Camille are virtually non-existent
A swimming pool and a tennis court are part of the 21-acre property Cosby bought in 1971. He also has homes in Los Angeles and suburban Philadelphia but he’s been spending his time in Shelburne Falls, a quintessential New England town covered for a few glorious weeks in the fall by a stunning array of oranges, reds and yellows as hundreds of thousands of trees prepare to shed their leaves
Cosby’s huge fortune — estimated at more than $400 million — is the only thing that protects him from the disgrace that his actions have brought on him. He has more than enough to live out his life in splendid isolation, unless the courts can get to him
Keep out: The sign posted on all entrances to the Cosby estate
And that suits Shelburne Falls just fine. Residents have lived for 12 months now, knowing that truth about their most famous citizen is far from his carefully crafted image.
It was on October 16 last year when fellow comedian Hannibal Burress accused him of serial rape during a stand-up comedy show in Philadelphia.
The claims weren’t new – several women had previously claimed he had assaulted them – but Burress’s accusations went viral and suddenly added impetus to the allegations.
Just two weeks later Daily Mail Online published an interview with Barbara Bowman, the first woman to talk in disturbing details about her harrowing claims of rape by the once beloved entertainer.
In the following days, weeks and months, a steady trickle of women started to come forward, all with similar stories of how he had taken them aside and given them a drink or a pill. The next thing they recalled was waking up with little memory of what had happened, except for a feeling that they had been violated.
The figure now stands at 57 accusers who claim he raped, assaulted, molested or groped them. The allegations go all the way back to December 1965, less than two years after he married Camille. Some, such as former models Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, are famous. Most are not.
The past year has also brought the prospect of prosecution, with federal investigators revealed this week by Daily Mail Online to be examining a Los Angeles police investigation into allegations by model Chloe Goins that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby at the Playboy Mansion in 2008 – inside the statute of limitations.
And in those 12 months, what little interaction Cosby had with regular folk in Shelburne Falls has become even more infrequent.
He occasionally orders coffee from Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters and sends a member of staff to pick it up. Several years ago, he even donated an espresso machine to the store, which is still in operation.
Staff there told Daily Mail Online they are forbidden from ever talking about him.
He was supposedly once seen at Gould’s Sugar-House, locals say, but no-one can quite pinpoint when it was — and the restaurant is now closed for the winter, so any more visits will have to wait until at least March.
Behind the fences Cosby and wife of 52 years Camille can grieve not only for his own humiliating fall, but also for his beloved only son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 and is buried beneath a herb garden on the estate
Curious: By far the largest buildings on Cosby’s estate are these two barn-like structures. No animals were seen roaming the property in these aerial views
The Cosbys have bought up hundreds of acres surrounding their compound on Bardwells Ferry Road to protect their privacy
When Cosby does leave his home, he uses one of two planes he keeps at the Westfield-Barnes Municipal Airport, a 12-seater Pilatus-PC12 with the name ‘Billy’ on the tail and a 16-seat Gulfstream IV named ‘Camille’
Cosby has certainly never set foot inside the Mohawk Trading Post, the business closest to his 21-acre compound.
The Cosbys have bought up hundreds of acres surrounding their compound on Bardwells Ferry Road to protect their privacy. Locals appreciate that that has helped prevent development around the town, but would just prefer it if the land was owned by someone less controversial.
They have also joined up with other local landowners to fight a proposed gas pipeline running through the area. Notices nailed to trees warn workers from the companies proposing the line that they will be charged with trespass if they go on the land to survey it.
One of the few locals who sets foot inside the Cosby compound on a regular basis is Michaelangelo Westcott, chef and owner of the upscale Gypsy Apple Bistro in Shelburne Falls, who occasionally caters for Cosby parties.
But Westcott declined to talk about his experiences. When asked if he goes to Cosby’s estate, he answered: ‘Maybe,’ adding, ‘I’m the worst person to speak to, I have no comment on anything,’ he told Daily Mail Online.
But Cosby has a few supporters. Town clerk Joseph Judd says there is ‘nothing negative’ to say about the way Cosby has lived in the area. ‘I can’t imagine a finer family,’ he said.
As of now 57 accusers claim Cosby raped, molested or groped them. The allegations go all the way back to December 1965, less than two years after he married Camille. Some, such as former models Beverly Johnson (left) and Janice Dickinson, are famous. Most are not
Signs at all of the entrances to the Cosby property read: If you are not invited, do not pass through these gates.’
An aerial view of a buildings set on the back of Bill Cosby’s estate in rural Western Massachusetts
Cosby is spending more time in Shelburne Falls than he did before the scandal hit. He now rarely visits his other properties in Pennsylvania and New York, instead preferring to hole up in this idyllic rural area of Western Massachusetts that he first grew to love through his association with nearby UMass, Amherst.
After an on-campus performance in 1969, he enrolled at the school, and despite only sporadic appearances in class, he was awarded a master’s degree and then a doctorate. His dissertation was on how Fat Albert could be used as a teaching aid.
By last count, Shelburne Falls has a population of just over 1700, Bill and Camille Cosby are among them
When Cosby does leave Massachusetts, he uses one of two planes he keeps at the Westfield-Barnes Municipal Airport, a 12-seater Pilatus-PC12 with the name ‘Billy’ on the tail and a 16-seat Gulfstream IV named ‘Camille.’
There is little need for the planes now as he increasingly stays at home.
His comeback stand-up tour was canceled this past spring once the rape accusations became impossible to ignore and protesters began to interrupt him on stage. His fall from grace and lack of bookings give him even less reason to venture outside the 21-acre compound where he is safe from prying eyes.
Three other alleged victims, Tamara Green, Linda Traitz and Therese Serignese, are suing him in Massachusetts for libel. They claim that he defamed them by denying their claims that he assaulted them. Dickinson has a similar suit against Cosby in California.
Even his insurance company is turning against him. AIG has asked that the Massachusetts case be put on hold while it works out whether it is liable to pay his court costs. ‘The cost of this defence is considerable, and Mr. Cosby has yet to even answer the amended complaint,’ the company said in a court filing.
But all that passes over people in Shelburne Falls, even though few ever took to Cosby as a favorite son in the first place, despite him living in their midst for the past 45 years.
Cosby makes it clear he doesn’t want anyone invading his privacy. Half a dozen signs dot the property, all with the same stern message. ‘If you are not invited, DO NOT pass through these gates,’ they read.
Occasionally Bill and Camille Cosby are visited by one or more of his four daughters, Erika, 50, Erinn, 49, Ensa, 42, or Evin, 39.
A view over the Deerfield River at Shelburne Falls. Perhaps a couple of times a year, one of Cosby’s daughters is spotted in the shopping area — and that, locals say, is far more often than their reclusive parents who actually live in the town
Perhaps a couple of times a year, one of the daughters is spotted in Shelburne Falls’ shopping area — and that, locals say, is far more often than their reclusive parents who actually live in the town.
There is still the danger that the law could catch up with him.
Federal prosecutors are now involved in investigating Cosby after being handed the findings of a Los Angeles Police Department investigation into allegations by Chloe Goins, a model, that she was drugged and sexually assaulted at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.
The case is inside the statute of limitations, unlike other complaints which have been leveled against him in the past year.
The biggest problem for Cosby is in Pennsylvania where Kevin Steele, elected just last week as Montgomery County’s new district attorney, is looking anew at claims by former Temple University basketball player Andrea Constand that he raped her in 2004. But Steele only has until January to charge Cosby within constraints placed on him by the state’s Statute of Limitations.
Other women are suing him in civil court, including Judy Huth, who claims Cosby molested her at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974 when she was just 15. Huth claims she has only recently become aware of the harm Cosby’s alleged attack had on her. California law allows child sexual assault victims to bring claims years after alleged attacks if they later discover they suffered psychological injuries.