Bill Cosby verdict: Comedian sentenced to between three and 10 years jail time over sexual assault conviction


Bill Cosby has been sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison over his conviction on a number of sexual assault charges.

Cosby, 81, was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and assault of his one-time friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

His lawyers have vowed to appeal the conviction.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill also decided to designate Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania law. It means that Cosby will have to register as a sex offender with police for the rest of his life and attend monthly counselling sessions. Local schools and neighbours will be notified of his address and crimes.

Prosecutors had asked for the maximum prison sentence of between five and 10 years, citing the nature of Cosby’s crime as well as his alleged history of misconduct. They had also asked the judge to levy a $25,000 fine on Cosby and make him pay court costs. If ever he came up for parole, prosecutors wanted him to submit to a “psycho-sexual evaluation” that he had refused prior to sentencing.

Cosby’s lawyers had asked for house arrest rather than prison time, arguing that the legally-blind actor was too frail for jail.

Cosby was the first celebrity to be convicted for sexual abuse since the start of the #MeToo movement, the national reckoning with misconduct that has brought down dozens of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.

Dozens of other women also have accused Cosby of sexual abuse going back decades, with Cosby having always maintained his innocence. Many of the allegations are too old to prosecute. The Ms Constand case was the only allegation that led to criminal charges.

On the first day of the sentencing hearing on Monday, Ms Constand said in a written statement submitted to the court that the attack had turned her into a woman who was “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,” she wrote.