Once known as America’s Dad, comedian Bill Cosby now goes by another name: Inmate NN7687.
Fourteen years after he drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, Cosby was sentenced by Judge Steven O’Neill Tuesday to three to ten years in state prison. Judge O’Neill also ruled that Cosby will be classified as a sexually violent predator for the rest of his life.
Under Pennsylvania law, a sexually violent predator is someone with “a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.” Mr. Cosby will have to register with the state police and notify them for the rest of his life, and his name will be released on a list of sexual offenders distributed to schools, victims, and neighbors.
“No one is above the law,” Judge O’Neill remarked during his sentencing of Mr. Cosby, “and no one should be treated differently based on who he is or who he was.”
The defense team threw what the prosecution called a hail mary after O’Neill sentenced Cosby, saying a tape provided during the trial was faked and asked that Mr. Cosby is released on bail as they embarked on the appeal process. Their request was denied.
“‘No, no, no.’ The defendant didn’t hear those words because of the drugs you [Cosby] administered. The jury heard those words. I heard those words.” Judge O’Neill to Cosby during his sentencing, describing the serious crimes he committed against Constand. “The jury’s verdict must be heard loud and clear.”
Although she did not address the press after the sentencing, the victim impact statement of Andrea Constand was made public following the trial. “When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking 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,” she writes.
Cosby will likely spend at least one year in jail before the appeal process gets underway. His wife, Camille, was notably absent from court on the day of his sentencing. She released a statement in response to her husband’s jail sentence, saying “We have now learned and will prove that Bill Cosby was denied his right to a fair trial because the DA of Montgomery County, Kevin Steele, used falsified evidence against him.”
Cosby removed his suit coat and watch, and rolled up his sleeves just before he was put in handcuffs by sheriff deputies. He was later transferred to the Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility in Collegeville, PA.
Accusers openly wept in court upon Cosby’s sentencing, putting their arms around each other to console one another. A pouring rain kept remarks short outside the courthouse, but attorney Gloria Allred made a quick statement on behalf of the accusers she represents: “This is a very important day – judgment day has come.”
Back in April, a jury found Mr. Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count carried a minimum of three years, and a maximum of ten. Judge O’Neill combined counts two and three, knocking the sentencing time down. After three years, Cosby can then be considered for parole.