NORRISTOWN (Pennsylvania) • Bill Cosby was marched out of courtroom in shackles on Tuesday after a decide branded him a “predator” and sentenced him to between three and 10 years in jail for sexual assault, capping the downfall of the once-beloved comic often called “America’s Dad”.
Cosby, 81, was found responsible in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of his one-time good friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
He is the primary superstar to be convicted of sexual abuse for the reason that begin of the #MeToo motion, the nationwide reckoning with misconduct that has introduced down dozens of highly effective males in leisure, politics and different fields.
Cosby should spend no less than three years in a Pennsylvania jail earlier than he turns into eligible for supervised release, although he may find yourself behind bars for as much as a decade.
Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill ordered Cosby to be jailed instantly, denying his request for bail whereas attorneys enchantment in opposition to the conviction.
He was escorted out of a again door of the courthouse along with his arms and ft shackled and pushed away in a black sport utility automobile.
There was no seen response from the disgraced entertainer as he learnt his destiny.
Minutes earlier, Ms Constand left courtroom together with her arms folded, a smile spreading throughout her face as different ladies who have accused Cosby got here to hug her. Several of these ladies spoke to reporters within the rain outdoors the courtroom.
Bill Cosby took my stunning, wholesome younger spirit and crushed it.
MS ANDREA CONSTAND
“I wanted 30 years, but I’m very happy to know Mr Cosby will do time in prison,” stated Ms Chelan Lasha, who gave tearful testimony in courtroom concerning the time she says Cosby drugged and groped her within the 1980s.
Judge O’Neill additionally fined Cosby US$25,000 (S$34,000) and ordered him to pay the prices of the prosecution. There was no seen response from the disgraced entertainer as he learnt his destiny.
“Equal justice under the law does not allow different treatment because of who he is or who he was,” Judge O’Neill stated.
Cosby cemented his family-friendly repute enjoying the affable Dr Cliff Huxtable within the 1980s tv comedy The Cosby Show.
“He hid behind Dr Cliff Huxtable,” Mr Kevin Steele, the county district legal professional who led the prosecution, informed reporters afterwards.
“Before he was taken away in handcuffs, a lot of people believed this was who he was. We know otherwise.”
After the sentencing, Mr Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, learn a prolonged assertion by which he decried what he referred to as “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States”.
Judge O’Neill additionally determined to designate Cosby a “sexually violent predator” underneath Pennsylvania legislation.
Under that designation, Cosby will have to bear month-to-month counselling and register as a intercourse offender with police for the remainder of his life. Neighbours and colleges might be notified of his handle, sure actions and crimes, as will Ms Constand.
When prosecutors informed Cosby in courtroom he wouldn’t have to tell Ms Constand of his actions himself, however proxy would achieve this, he replied: “Good!”
Cosby has denied any wrongdoing. Asked if he wished to deal with the courtroom with an announcement earlier than sentencing, he declined by his attorneys. His attorneys had requested that Cosby be positioned underneath home arrest, citing his age and frailty.
More than 50 ladies have accused the actor of sexual abuse going again many years, with most complaints too previous to prosecute. The Constand case was the one allegation that led to legal costs.
Ms Constand, 45, stated in a written assertion submitted to the courtroom on Monday that the assault had turned her into a girl who was “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,” she wrote.
Cosby’s first trial final 12 months led to a mistrial when jurors couldn’t attain a unanimous verdict.
Prison officers will course of the actor on the close by state jail in Schwenksville earlier than figuring out by which of Pennsylvania’s 22 male prisons he’ll serve his sentence, jail spokesman Amy Worden wrote in an e-mail.
He might be one in all 86 inmates over age 80 held by Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections, the place the 2 oldest inmates are each 91, Ms Worden stated