Montgomery County’s Bruce Castor recounted his more than 30 years of public service to the county, both as its top prosecutor and as a commissioner.
As his tenure as county commissioner comes to a close in January, Castor said he has mixed feelings about leaving an office that has raised his public profile so — including exploring a bid for governor last year and even a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
“There will be a lot of people I will miss because I’ve made so many friends there. I respect the work they do in the DA’s office but in the county government as well,” he said.
“I won’t miss being on call all the time — or having two jobs … it is a giant weight off my shoulders.”
But it’s been his career in the courtroom that has gained him the most notoriety.
Castor is credited with securing two life terms for Caleb Fairly, the rapist and murderer of a mother and child in a children’s clothing store in Gulph Mills in 1995. Castor also put away Craig Rabinowitz, who, in 1997, strangled his wife to death in their Merion home to then elope with a stripper. Then there’s University of Pennsylvania professor Rafael Robb, who bludgeoned his wife to death with an exercise bar in 2007 in a wild fit of rage.
Alas, we get to Bill Cosby.
Castor lost his most recent bid for district attorney to Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele, who will be sworn in in January.
Castor’s decision not to prosecute comedian Cosby in 2005 became a media flashpoint, and Steele sailed to victory in November after several more women came forward with sexual assault allegations against Cosby over the course of the last year. But Castor has maintained that there was a significant lack of evidence in the case brought by Andrea Constand, the former basketball player who claimed Cosby drugged and assaulted her in his Montgomery County home.
Some critics said the Steele campaign jumped on the newly surfaced Cosby allegations from women and ran with them — spinning them to make Castor appear insensitive to victims of sexual assault. In one campaign ad, Steele criticized Castor for “not even trying” to thoroughly investigate the claims against Cosby. Monday, Castor called the Steele claims “complete and utter nonsense.”
“When you’re a lawyer and prosecutor you make decisions based on facts and evidence,” said Castor.
“Anybody part of the DA’s office at the time knows exactly what we had, and that we were never going to win that case.
“We didn’t know years down the road that all these people were going to come forward. I remember reading comments at the time from leading Democratic political strategists staying this is the only call you could make. I found, over the years, telling the truth to the public grants you great credibility.”
It should be noted Cosby has never been charged with any sex crime in any court anywhere.
In saying goodbye on radio Monday and with the Metro, Castor told WNPV 1440 AM that he has the utmost respect for the commissioners’ board chairman, Josh Shapiro, who he called an “exceedingly bright fellow – politically astute,” and “as county commissioner, including myself, I don’t think anybody could have done a better job.”
Castor is a partner at the Ardmore-based Rogers Castor law firm.