Bill Cosby Sentenced to 3 to 10 Years in State Prison for Sexual Assault, Deemed a "Sexually Violent Predator"
September 25, 2018
Bill Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill rendered the decision Tuesday, the second day of the sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., saying, “I’m not permitted to treat him any differently based on who he is or who he was.” O’Neill also ruled that Cosby is a “sexually violent predator” and fined him $25,000.
The sentence means that Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad,” will spend at least three years behind bars and then will become eligible for supervised release, although that’s not guaranteed. According to journalist Bobby Allyn, who was in the courtroom, the judge will not grant bail. The comedian was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs and was placed in a car, where he was headed off to state prison.
Cosby, 81, was convicted in April on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault. While they had the potential to carry a 30-year sentence — 10 years per count — O’Neill said Monday, and the district attorney and defense attorney agreed, that the counts would be merged into just one. State guidelines recommend between one and four years for a single count. (The D.A. requested the maximum sentence while Cosby’s legal team argued for leniency, given his age and frailty, including his blindness.)
The disgraced Cosby Show star arrived at court on Tuesday morning with a smile on his face as he walked in alongside his legal team and handlers. His wife since 1964, Camille Cosby, opted not to attend again. He chose not to make a statement when the judge asked if he had anything to say.
Following the verdict, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said at a news conference on Tuesday that “it’s been a long journey to get here and today justice was served.”
“For decades, the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes using his fame and fortune,” Steele said. “He used his acting skills and his endearing personality to win over his victims and keep them silent. Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we’ve seen the real man as he’s headed off to prison.”
Steele also praised Andrea Constand, saying “we are all better off because she’s in our lives.”
“You’ve heard about how this assault changed her life. She has been through an ordeal through the past 14 years and she has been solid and steadfast,” the district attorney said. “She’s been a rock. She’s done the right thing over and over and over again.”
Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, said Mr. Cosby is “doing great” following the sentencing.
“Mr. Cosby knows that God is watching over him. He knows that these are lies,” Wyatt said. “They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. Mr. Cosby’s doing fine, he’s holding up well, and if anyone wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well.”
Ebony Benson read a statement on behalf of Camille Cosby, where she accused the district attorney of using “falsified evidence” the during the trial.
According to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Laura McCrystal, more than a half dozen Cosby accusers — of which there are approximately 60 — were in the courtroom along with Constand, a former Temple University employee, for the sentencing.
Day two also saw a psychologist, who was an expert witness for the defense, testify as to whether Cosby should be labeled a “sexually violent predator.” (Prosecutors had called their witness on Monday.) Timothy Foley told the court that the risk of sex offenders reoffending after age 70 is “virtually negligible.” Cosby’s lawyer suggested that he hasn’t “acted out” in more than five years. Judge O’Neill’s ruling of the classification means that Cosby must undergo counseling for the rest of his life and report quarterly to authorities. His name will appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools, and victims, according to the AP.
Constand’s victim impact letter was shared with the court. She said that the “psychological, emotional, and financial bullying included a slander campaign in the media that left my entire family reeling in shock and disbelief.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented many of Bill Cosby’s accusers, said she was “glad that judgment day has finally come for Mr. Cosby,” saying he showed “no remorse.”
Chelan Lasha, who said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in Las Vegas when she was 17 years old, said while she wanted “30 years,” she’s “very happy to know that Mr. Cosby will do time in prison.”
“He is touchable, just like he touched us, unwillingly.”