Bill Cosby has been sentenced to between three to ten years after being found guilty of sexual assault by Judge Steven O’Neill. Cosby had been found guilty for sexual offences back in April after being accused of drugging and raping Andrea Constand in 2004 in his Philadelphia home. Cosby was also fined $ 25,000 and ordered to pay for the costs of the prosecution. The judge designated him a sexually violent predator and he will have to attend monthly counselling sessions for the rest of his life. Cosby will also be required to inform any community he resides in that he is a sexual offender after being placed on the sexual offender’s registry.
The 81-year-old comedian remained impassive as the sentence was read out, having refused to make a statement in court beforehand. Several of his accusers present in court celebrated openly and later took to social media to express their satisfaction with the judgement. Cosby was taken into custody as his plea for bail pending an appeal was denied.
The charming actor had long been regarded an unimpeachable father figure after gaining fame in his role as the leading protagonist in the Cosby TV Show back in the 1980s. That image of “America’s Dad” came crashing down as accusations of drugging and sexually assaulting numerous women came to light in the mid-2000s. Cosby has been accused of assaulting no less than 60 women though many cases are time barred for trial. He still could face civil lawsuits after he publicly called his accusers liars.
The case has acted as a proxy for the many women who could not get a trial with a number coming under the representation of attorney Gloria Allred. The comedian had been arrested in 2015 but was released after a mistrial with jurors remaining deadlocked after six days of discussion. A retrial led to a conviction in April and the actor has been under house arrest while awaiting his sentencing.
The sentence closes a long chapter in the Cosby case and emboldens the MeToo campaign that has seen previously silenced victims of sexual assault being encouraged to go public against their attackers.