Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill, rejecting the defense argument that Bill Cosby was too frail to do time behind bars, ordered the 81-year-old entertainer to serve no less than three and no more than ten years in prison. Cosby must also register as a sex offender.
On Tuesday, Cosby was taken to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in nearby Eagleville, where he will be spending the first few days of his sentence. He will then move to SCI Phoenix, a new state prison outside Philadelphia, where he will be assessed to determine any medical, physical or security needs. After that, he will be assigned and moved to a state prison.
Cosby had an opportunity to address the court before the sentence was handed down, but declined to do so. He was led away in cuffs and immediately booked.
Absent from the sentencing was Cosby’s wife of 54 years, Camille.
President of the National Organization for Women of New York, Sonia Ossorio, credited Cosby’s accusers with their help in paving the way for the #MeToo movement.
“Bill Cosby seeing the inside of a prison cell sends a strong message that predators – no matter who they are, from Hollywood to Wall Street to the Supreme Court – can no longer be protected at the expense of victims,” she said.
Former model Janet Dickinson, who was among the 60+ women who have come forwards alleging Cosby drugged and violated them over the past 5 decades, looked straight at Cosby and said: “Here’s the last laugh, pal.”
The judge heard testimony on Tuesday from a defense psychologist who claimed Cosby is no longer a danger, given his age, and should not be subject to the label as such. Judge O’Neill said prosecutors did meet the burden of proof by “clear and convincing” evidence.
“I am not permitted to treat him any differently because of who he is or who he was,” the judge added. “Of course, the higher the ascent, the sharper the fall. I recognize that impact on you, Mr. Cosby, and I am sorry for that.”
Cosby was also fined $25,000 and ordered to pay the cost of the prosecution.
Cosby’s lawyers had originally asked for house arrest, saying Cosby is legally blind and too helpless to do any time behind bars.
Spokesman for Cosby, Andrew Wyatt claimed prosecutors presented falsified evidence when they introduced a recording of a phone conversation between Cosby and Constand’s mother, Gianna Constand. Wyatt said an expert hired by Cosby determined that the recording was “doctored,” and said he would seek to bring the matter before the court, according to CBS News.
Referring to the recording, Camille Cosby said in a statement read by a spokeswoman: “These egregious injustices must be corrected.”
While at the press conference, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele responded to the claim: “If that’s what they’ve got, it’s more than a ‘Hail Mary.'”
Steele noted that although Cosby would be eligible for parole in three years, “victims get a say” in his release. “He could serve every day of 10 years at this point,” Steele said.
Although Constand stood by Steele at the news conference, she did not address the media. Steele said that Cosby used his fame and fortune to “hide his true self and hide his crimes,” intimidating his victims into keeping them in silence for decades, but that he is now finally “unmasked” as the predator he’s always been.
Since Constand first went to authorities in 2005, over 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct or assault, though none of the claims had ever led to any charges.
“The victims cannot be un-raped. Unfortunately, all we can do is hold the perpetrator accountable,” said Gianna Constand, who testified on Monday.
Steele said on Monday that Cosby has shown repeatedly to have no remorse over his actions and if given the chance, would commit similar crimes again in the future.
“Despite bullying tactics, despite PR teams and other folks trying to change the optics, as one lawyer for the defense put it, the bottom line is that nobody’s above the law. Nobody,” the district attorney said.
Constand, now 45, submitted a five-page statement to the court, saying the assault had robbed her of her self-confidence and that she is affected to this day, living alone with her two dogs and has trouble trusting others.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote. “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.”
She continued, “We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator, but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.”
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