Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Bill Cosby gets 3 to 10 years in prison for sex assault

Published:Tuesday | September 25, 2018 | 1:46 PM
Bill Cosby arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Tuesday, September 25, 2018, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

The punishment all but completed the dizzying, late-in-life fall from grace for the comedian, former TV star and breaker of racial barriers.

“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said.

He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s own statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

Cosby declined the opportunity to speak before the sentence came down and afterward he sat and chatted with his spokesman and a lawyer, seemingly in good spirits.

His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court.

Constand smiled upon hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom.

Cosby’s lawyers asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail, but the judge appeared incredulous over the request and said he would not treat the celebrity any differently from others.

The punishment came at the end of a two-day hearing at which the judge declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator” — a modern-day scarlet letter that subjects him to monthly counselling for the rest of his life and requires that neighbours and schools be notified of his whereabouts.

The comic once known as America’s Dad for his role on the top-rated “Cosby Show” in the 1980s was convicted in April of violating Constand, Temple University women’s basketball administrator, at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. It was the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Cosby faced a sentence of anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison.

His lawyers asked for house arrest, saying Cosby — who is legally blind — is too old and vulnerable to do time in prison.

Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years behind bars, saying he could still pose a threat to women.

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