Bill Cosby Sentenced 3 To 10 Years In Prison
Bill Cosby will serve three to 10 years in state prison, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill ruled on Tuesday. The former television superstar, who traded on a squeaky clean, fatherly image, was sentenced after being found guilty of three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault in April in one of the most widely publicized trials in modern history.
The sentence is significantly lighter than the possible maximum sentence for his crimes, each of which carry up to 10 years in prison, meaning he could have served a 30 year maximum sentence. However, District Attorney Kevin Steel asked O’Neill Monday to sentence Cosby, 81, to five to 10 years in state prison. However, Cosby’s defense team argued that even that would cause “excessive hardship” to the elderly star.
“What does an 81-year-old man do in prison?” attorney Joseph Green asked the court. “How does he fight off the people who are trying to extort him, or walk to the mess hall?"
However, Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, as well as the more than 60 women who have come forward with allegations against him in recent years, argued that the man once heralded as “America’s Dad” should not get a pass for his crimes just because of his age and status.
“I wasn't sure what had actually happened but the pain spoke volumes,” Constand said in an impact statement to the court. “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.”
Cosby's sentence comes after a lengthy trial that resulted in one mistrial and an eventual guilty verdict, over accusations from former Temple University employee Constand. He was found to have drugged and sexually assaulted Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Since then, multiple women have come forward against "The Cosby Show" star with similar allegations of assault.
Andrea Constand arrives at the sentencing hearing for the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era and could be the first to go to prison â perhaps for the rest of his days â after being convicted in April of violating Temple University employee Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)
Andrea Constand arrives in court for Cosby's sentencing. (AP)
"So to say that he's too old to do that — to say that he should get a pass, because it's taken this long to catch up to what he's done?" Steele said, his voice rising. "What they're asking for is a 'get out of jail free' card."
The first part of the sentencing hearings focused on the prosecution’s efforts to label Cosby a sexually violent predator. Despite efforts from Cosby’s defense team to argue that he is no longer a threat to anyone, Judge O’Neil ruled Tuesday that Cosby will be given that label. The classification means that Cosby must undergo lifetime counseling and report quarterly to authorities. His name will appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools and victims.