Graham Bowley and Jon Hurdle
New York Times News Service
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison Tuesday for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near here 14 years ago, completing the precipitous downfall to disgrace of a man from the heights of stardom and putting an exclamation mark on the first major conviction of the #MeToo era.
Cosby, 81, had been convicted in April of assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee at the time of the assault, who had looked upon him as a mentor but ended up being one of the dozens of women who have accused him of acts of predatory sexual abuse.
Nine of those women and Constand were in the Montgomery County Courthouse to witness the sentencing by Judge Steven T. O’Neill. Cosby’s wife, Camille, was not.
“It is time for justice, Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you,” O’Neill said. “The day has come. The time has come.”
Cosby is heading straight to prison as the judge denied him a request that he remain free on bail while he pursues an anticipated appeal.
Prosecutors had asked for a maximum term of five to 10 years.
When the sentence was announced, Cosby sat quietly. Constand stared straight ahead and the other female accusers, seated more toward the back, did not celebrate.
O’Neill, who also fined Cosby $25,000, referenced Constand’s victim impact statement, where she described the emotional pain the assault had left her in. “As she said, Mr. Cosby,” the judge said, “you took her beautiful healthy young spirit and you crushed it.”
O’Neill ruled earlier in the day that Cosby qualified as a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania law.
His decision came after testimony by a psychologist for the defense, who said Cosby did not deserve that classification. The expert, Timothy Foley, said Cosby was no longer a threat to anyone and he contradicted a psychologist representing Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board who testified Monday, the first day of Cosby’s sentencing hearing. That psychologist had said Cosby had demonstrated a lifetime interest in sex with nonconsenting women, which indicated a mental abnormality.
The final decision by O’Neill upheld the board’s finding. He said the state had met “a clear and convincing standard.”
Cosby told the judge Tuesday through his lawyer that he did not intend to speak before sentencing.