Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for sexual assault
“It is time for justice,” said Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”
The judge also declared Cosby, 81, a “sexually violent predator” early Tuesday, ensuring that the former Cosby Show star must undergo monthly counselling for the rest of his life and report four times a year to authorities.
As a result of the classification, he’ll also have to appear on a sex-offender registry sent to schools, neighbours and victims.
The judge denied Cosby’s legal team’s request for bail pending appeal. He appeared incredulous over the request and turned it down, saying that even considering Cosby’s age and blindness, “he could quite possibly be a danger to the community.”
Cosby was also fined US$25,000.
Cosby declined the opportunity to address the court before the judge retreated to his chambers to weigh the sentence. After the sentence was announced, he sat smiling, laughing and chatting with his defence team. His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court. Constand smiled broadly upon hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom.
Former model Janice Dickinson, who was among the 60 or so women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and violating them over the past five decades, looked at Cosby and said: “Here’s the last laugh, pal.”
Other celebrities in Hollywood had an opinion about the sentencing, including comedian Whitney Cummings and actor Amber Tamblyn, who’ve both been vocal supporters of the #MeToo movement.
The comic once known as America’s Dad for his role as wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show in the 1980s faced anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison after being convicted in April in the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.
Cosby’s lawyers asked for house arrest, saying Cosby — who is legally blind — is too old and helpless to do time in prison. Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years behind bars, saying the comic could still be a threat to women.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele rejected the notion that “age, infirmity, should somehow equate to mercy.”
“He was good at hiding this for a long time. Good at suppressing this for a long time. So it’s taken a long time to get there,” Steele said.
WATCH: Montgomery County District Attorney discusses Bill Cosby sentencing
Cosby’s lawyers had fought the “sexually violent predator” designation, arguing that Pennsylvania’s sex-offender law is unconstitutional and that he is no threat to the public at his age. But O’Neill said prosecutors had met their burden of proof by “clear and convincing” evidence.
When the ruling came down, a woman in courtroom shot her fist into the air and whispered, “Yessss!”
Meanwhile, Constand, who has led the charge against Cosby over the last few years, submitted a victim-impact statement as evidence on Monday, one that Judge O’Neill quoted in his sentencing.
(Constand was the operations manager for Temple University’s women’s basketball program in the early ’00s, and she said that Cosby invited her to his house under the pretense of advancing her career.)
“To truly understand the impact that the sexual assault has had on my life, you have to understand the person that I was before it happened,” it begins.
In the statement, Constand recounts exhaustion, loss of appetite, traumatic nightmares, and an “overwhelming” sense of shame in the weeks following the sexual assault.
“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” Constand wrote. “He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.”
For years, a nondisclosure agreement kept Constand and her family silent; the Cosby criminal trial provided her with an opportunity to finally reveal what took place nearly 15 years ago.
WATCH BELOW: Victim impact statements heard at Bill Cosby sentencing hearing
On Monday, a psychologist for the state testified that Cosby appears to have a mental disorder that gives him an uncontrollable urge to assault women.
Cosby was smiling and joking with his spokesman and sheriff’s deputies as he settled into the courtroom Tuesday. On Day 1 of the sentencing, the comic laughed at times as the psychologist for the state testified.
Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom; they are generally banned in Pennsylvania.
Cosby has denied all of the accusations against him, claiming any sex was consensual.
— With files from The Associated PressFollow @CJancelewicz
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