Bill Cosby has been sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of sexual assault.
During a trial in April 2018, 81-year-old Cosby was found guilty by a jury of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The once-revered comedian has been jailed for drugging and sexually assaulting Temple University women’s basketball team administrator, Andrea Constand, more than 14 years after he gave her pills which left her incapacitated in his home.
Cosby was taken into custody immediately after sentencing with the judge refusing to let him out on bail while he appeals, saying he ‘could quite possibly be a danger to the community’, reports The Guardian. Cosby will serve the sentence in state prison.
Delivering the sentence, Judge Steven O’Neill stated:
Mr. Cosby, your guilt has been determined by a jury. You were convicted of a very serious crime. Of course, the higher the ascent the sharper the fall. I recognise that impact upon Mr Cosby, and I am sorry for that.
When asked for comment, Cosby looked down and said nothing, according to NPR, but after the hearing, outside the courthouse, Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, vowed to fight Cosby’s sentence.
Wyatt implied the prosecution was racially biased, stating:
Mr. Cosby knows that these are lies. They prosecuted Jesus and look what happened. Not saying Mr. Cosby is Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.
Fuck you bill cosby
— Andrew (@andrew_chapin) September 25, 2018
Prosecutors submitted Constand’s full victim impact statement to the court, which according to The Guardian, read:
I had just given my two-month notice at Temple when the man I had come to know as a mentor and friend drugged and sexually assaulted me.
Instead of being able to run, jump and pretty much do anything I wanted physically, during the assault I was paralyzed and completely helpless. I could not move my arms or legs. I couldn’t speak or even remain conscious. I was completely vulnerable, and powerless to protect myself.
After the assault, I wasn’t sure what had actually happened but the pain spoke volumes. The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself.
When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities.
Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.
Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) September 25, 2018
Cosby’s legal team requested house arrest, arguing Cosby – who is legally blind – would be too old and frail to undergo a prison sentence.
Defense Attorney Joseph Green argued:
Eighty-one-year-old blind men who are not self-sufficient are not dangerous, except maybe to themselves.
However, prosecutors pushed for a five to ten year sentence, arguing Cosby could still pose a danger to women.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele argued against the idea, ‘age, infirmity, should somehow equate to mercy’, states ITV:
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.
Glad Bill Cosby got what he deserved. Prison. Successful step for the #MeToo movement
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) September 25, 2018
O’Neill labelled Cosby a ‘sexually violent predator’ under Pennsylvania law. As a result, he will have to undergo monthly counselling and register as a sex offender with police for the rest of his life, report Reuters.
Neighbours and schools will be notified of his address, certain movements and crimes, as will Constand.
When prosecutors told Cosby in court he would not have to inform Constand of his movements himself but a proxy would do so, he replied:
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.