Bill Cosby has received a sentence of three to 10 years in state prison, the Associated Press reports. On Tuesday, Judge Steven O'Neill handed down the sentence in Norristown, Pennsylvania, where a jury convicted Cosby on three sexual assault charges in April. The comedian will also have to register as a sex offender and attend counseling for the rest of his life.
Cosby was immediately taken into custody, reportedly with O'Neill denying defense attorneys' bail requests. According to Buzzfeed News, Cosby's lawyers wasted no time filing paperwork that would allow him to remain free while awaiting an appeal.
"It is time for justice, Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you," O’Neill said, according to the NY Times. "The day has come. The time has come."
"It is time for justice in a court of law," judge says. "The day has come. The time has come."
— Laura McCrystal (@LMcCrystal) September 25, 2018
The judge spoke in a lengthy manner about the impact of the Cosby's crime on Andrea Constand.
"You claimed her silence was consent. That is not the law," said the judge. "This is a court of law and I intend to sentence you under the law."
— julia reinstein 🚡 (@juliareinstein) September 25, 2018
Jurors found Cosby guilty of assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who looked to the entertainer as a mentor, in 2004. In court, Constand repeated the same testimony she'd given in 2017, in a trial that ended in a hung jury. Constand said that, on a night when she visited him at his home, Cosby gave her unmarked pills he billed as herbal supplements, promising they would "take the edge off" the stress she'd been feeling. After swallowing them, her vision blurred, her speech slurred, and she passed out—only to "jolt" awake sometime later, to find Cosby violating her and moving her hand on his penis. The experience fits the behavioral pattern nearly 60 women have attested to in their dealings with the comedian.
In April, five of those women joined Constand in taking the stand, and some of those witnesses—including supermodel Janice Dickinson—reappeared in the courtroom for hearings this week.
Among the central issues debated on Monday and Tuesday was the question of whether or not Cosby qualifies as a "sexually violent predator." On Monday, the state called psychologist Kristen F. Dudley, who stressed that Cosby seems to check the boxes for a mental disorder that renders him, basically, unable to control himself when it comes to non-consensual sex. "It is possible that he has already met someone who could be a future victim," she said, according to the NY Times.
On Tuesday, however, an expert witness for the defense disagreed. Psychologist Timothy Foley said that a three-hour meeting with Cosby, along with a review of his records, indicated that America's former Dad presented an "extremely low risk." Notably, though, Foley did not read the depositions or the court documents. He did not know about the quaalude prescriptions Cosby secured specifically for sex. He did not know about the corroborating testimony from women with eerily similar stories to Constand's. Ultimately, O'Neill agreed on Tuesday that Cosby deserves the "sexually violent predator" label.
In determining whether or not Cosby deserved the full 10 year maximums on each of his three convictions, O'Neill had a few factors to consider. The defense urged leniency, citing Cosby's age and his vision problems: "How's he going to meet these people?" the defense attorney, Joseph Green argued Monday, referring to the prospect of new victims. "There is no reasonable prospect that an 81-year-old blind man is likely to reoffend." Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, meanwhile, implored O'Neill to set an example by imposing the maximum term, to be served in prison rather than on house arrest.
"The bottom line, your honor, is nobody's above the law," Steele said, according to the NYT. "Others in a similar situation need to understand that."
Constand spoke in court briefly on Monday, and submitted a lengthy victim impact statement describing the crushing shame she felt after the assault isolated her from family and friends, plagued by anxiety, and "consumed with guilt."
"I know now that I am one of the lucky ones," Constand said. "But still, when the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward 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, unable to heal fully or to move forward.
"Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others."
Although given the opportunity on Tuesday, Cosby—who maintains his innocence and intends to appeal the decision—declined to make a statement.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 25, 2018
UPDATE: Cosby has officially been processed at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, which released his mugshot Tuesday afternoon.
— 1010 WINS (@1010WINS) September 25, 2018