American stand-up comedian, actor, musician and author Bill Cosby has been sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill made the decision Tuesday, the second day of the sentencing hearing in Norristown, Pa., court — saying, “I’m not permitted to treat him any differently based on who he is or who he was.” He 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 and the comedian is expected to be taken away to a cell shortly.
Cosby, 81, was convicted in April on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault. While it 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, the counts 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.
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 2 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.) Dr. Timothy Foley told the court that risk of sex offenders reoffending after age 70 is “virtually negligible.” Cosby’s lawyer suggested 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.