A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced the once beloved actor and comedian to three to ten years in jail for his crimes.
In April this year, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadephia home in 2004.
The 81-year-old Cosby has now been sentenced and moved to the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix for assessment. Officials are yet to decide which prison he will be held at.
He was also categorised as a Sexually Violent Predator by the Sexual Offenders Assesment Board. This is the highest category of sexual offender and means Cosby will need to register with state police and inform any community he lives in that he is a sexual offender.
Bill Cosby was taken to the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Phoenix to begin serving his prison sentence of three to 10 years for sexual assault https://t.co/H47zronJAU pic.twitter.com/VqmTyXzUKR
— CNN (@CNN) September 25, 2018
Cosby has been accused of dozens of sexual assaults, spanning decades
First, however, he has to serve out a prison sentence that completes his stunning fall from grace. Once one of America’s most cherished entertainers, his legacy is now in tatters and he has been accused of scores of sexual assaults by at least 50 women with the allegations dating back to the 1960s. Many of the alleged crimes cannot be tried as they fall outside the statute of limitations.
Cosby’s trial was seen as the first instance of a celebrity felled by the #MeToo movement standing trial. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby abused his position in society. “He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes,” he told reporters.
In her impact statement, Andrea Constand said she had once looked up to Cosby as a mentor. “To truly understand the impact that the sexual assault has had on my life, you have to understand the person that I was before it happened,” she said.
"It's a hallelujah moment," says Bill Cosby accuser Lili Bernard in response to Cosby being sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison.
— CNN (@CNN) September 25, 2018
“A momentous decision in the #MeToo era”
Lili Bernard, an actress who said Cosby drugged and raped her, told CNN that the sentencing was a “hallelujah moment” for her despite feeling “mixed emotions” over the length of the sentence.
“This is a momentous decision in the ‘Me Too’ era,” Bernard said. “It’s incredibly important. I do have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I feel absolutely elated that justice was served. On the other hand, I also feel disappointed because clearly the three-year minimum sentence does not adequately reflect the havoc this man, this rapist, has inflicted on so many women including myself.”
“It does indicate there is now a shift in the legal system that is now going to reflect modern culture and that now women’s voices are being believed and women’s lives are being valued.”
Cindra Ladd, a Hollywood executive who accused Cosby of raping her while she was passed out, told The Hollywood Reporter: “I always knew Bill Cosby was a violent sexual predator, and now it’s been officially confirmed by the Court.”
“He now has to register as such and receive counselling for the rest of his life. I’m grateful to Judge O’Neill for his steady and fair administration of justice and for his sentencing.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 25, 2018
A “long journey to justice” for Cosby’s victims
One of the attorneys representing some of Cosby’s accusers, Gloria Allred, said it had been a “long journey to justice” for Constand and her family.
“We respect the fact that they have undergone and endured this journey to justice,” Allred said.
“This is a very important day. Judgment day has come.”
“Mr. Cosby has shown no remorse, and there has been no justice for many of the accusers who were barred from a court by the arbitrary time limits imposed by the statute of limitations.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 25, 2018
In a bizarre footnote to the sentencing, Cosby’s Publicist Andrew Wyatt claimed the trial “has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States”.
Wyatt also likened Cosby to both Jesus and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and declared the women who testified against his client were “white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators.”
Cosby had settled a sexual assault claim against him back in 2005 after admitting to giving young women sedatives. The whispers about his predatory behaviour resurfaced in 2014, when comedian Hannibal Buress said on stage: “Bill Cosby has the f**ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate…Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby.”