Bill Cosby was yesterday sentenced to 10 years behind bars for drugging and molesting a much younger woman in 2004 — the culmination of a stunning saga of sexual assault allegations that sent the comedian’s fun-loving-family-man legacy up in flames.
Cosby bit his finger and looked up at the ceiling as Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill meted out his punishment — and slammed the shamed actor — for giving three blue pills to Andrea Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia, then waiting until she slipped into a drugged stupor to penetrate her with his fingers.“It was planned predation — the pills, the planning, the penetration without her consent, your own words in your deposition,” O’Neill said.
“You claimed her silence was her consent, that is not the law. Your version of consent was rejected by the jury. That underscores how serious this crime is.”“No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently, or disproportionately, in terms of where they live, who they are, or in terms of wealth or philanthropy.”
Sitting with her family in the front row of the courtroom, Constand stared straight ahead. She smiled, hugged a victim’s advocate and took in a deep breath during a break in the proceedings.
The 81-year-old, who says he’s legally blind and uses a cane to walk, faced anywhere from zero to 10 years. He was convicted at his retrial in April after jurors in his first trial deadlocked, causing a mistrial.He did not address the court ahead of his sentencing.
O’Neill said the evidence against Cosby was bolstered by chilling testimony from Constand and five other accusers — supermodel Janice Dickinson, Chelan Lasha, Janice Baker-Kinney, Lise-Lotte Lublin and Heidi Thomas.
“To hear voices from the past, your past, Mr. Cosby, saying ‘This happened to me’ — six times,” the judge said. “Those voices said over and over and over again over time, and it was a valuable piece used by the jury in determining your guilt.”“I hear your attorneys’ argument, that you are old, but some might say you were old back then,” O’Neill continued. “A powerful light has been shed on your behavior.”
Cosby grunted oddly, then nodded his head up and down when O’Neill recalled Constand’s victim impact statement.“As she said, Mr. Cosby, you took her beautiful young, healthy spirit and you crushed it,” the judge said.Cosby will serve out his term in state prison, where he’ll undergo programs for sex offenders, O’Neill said. He was also slapped with a $25,000 bill for the cost of his prosecution.
Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years in prison and the $25,000 fine, while his team of lawyers begged for house arrest or probation, citing his age and health.Earlier in the day, O’Neill sided with the state in determining that Cosby was a sexually violent predator — a serious designation that landed him monthly counseling and registration with police and as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Noticeably absent from the packed courtroom in Norristown was Camille Cosby, the disgraced funnyman’s wife of 54 years and mother to his five children. She only appeared twice during her embattled husband’s two criminal trials, during closing arguments — despite unequivocally standing by him.She called Cosby a victim of “lynch mobs” and castigated his conviction as an “unthinking, unquestioning, unconstitutional frenzy propagated by the media.”
Once beloved as “America’s Dad” for his warm portrayal of family man Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the hit “Cosby Show,” the aging actor spent his twilight years battling a torrent of sex assault allegations that spanned decades.Roughly 60 women have come forward, some filing civil lawsuits against him because the statute of limitations on criminal charges has expired.
Cosby nearly dodged prosecution altogether — but was charged in Constand’s case in December 2015, just before the 12-year statute of limitations ran out.
Prosecutors reopened the case after portions of his damning deposition in her 2005 suit were unsealed. In them, Cosby openly admitted giving Quaaludes to young women for sex.
Cosby is the first celebrity convicted on sex assault charges in the wake of the #MeToo movement that has engulfed some of Hollywood’s most powerful men, including Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Morgan Freeman, Louis CK and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.