Bill Cosby, in the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, was sentenced to three to 10 years for one count of sexual assault on Tuesday. Cosby will serve his sentence in a state prison.
After being found guilty of sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in April, Cosby faced a maximum of 10 years in prison. As CNN reports, prior to Cosby’s sentencing, his lawyers and the prosecution agreed to merge three counts of sexual assault into one because they all stemmed from the same event. Had the three counts been considered separately, Cosby would have faced a maximum of 30 years in prison. Cosby’s sentence also includes a $25,000 fine and the cost of prosecution.
Dozens of women have publicly accused the man once known as “America’s Dad” of drugging and sexually assaulting them in incidents that reach as far back as the 1960s and as recently as the 2000s.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill also ruled that Cosby should be considered a sexually violent predator, or “SVP”—a label that will follow him for the rest of his life, whether or not he remains behind bars.
“This was a serious crime,” he said. “Mr. Cosby this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come.”
Cosby’s defense tried to persuade the judge that, at 81, the comedian’s age nullified his ability to be a risk to the public. Being an SVP means Cosby will have to register as an offender and undergo mandatory sex offender counseling. In addition, any community he lives in will be notified that a sexually violent predator lives in the area, CNN reports.
However, the designation had no legal bearing on the length of the Cosby’s sentence.
Cosby was given the opportunity to speak before the court on Tuesday but declined. TMZ reported that Cosby was “all smiles” as he entered court.
Constand was at the Montgomery County Courthouse to attend the sentencing and delivered a powerful impact statement.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities. Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward,” her statement read, according to CNN.
“We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator,” Constand wrote, “but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.”
This is the second time Cosby stood trial for sexually assaulting Constand. The first, in 2017, ended in a hung jury.