Bill Cosby sentencing hearing: Judge says actor is a 'sexually violent predator'

Lula Sharp
September 25, 2018

Andrea Constand says she's had to cope with years of unrelenting pain, anxiety and self-doubt after Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004.

But what consequences will he face?

The 81-year-old, once beloved as "America's Dad", is the first celebrity convicted and sentenced for a sex crime since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein ushered in the #MeToo movement and America's reckoning with sexual harassment. His lawyers asked for house arrest, saying Cosby - who is legally blind - is too old and vulnerable to do time in prison.

Cosby's lawyers had fought the "sexually violent predator" designation, arguing that Pennsylvania's sex-offender law is unconstitutional and that he is no threat to the public at his age.

The judge also called the 81-year-old a "sexually violent predator", and it was determined that his name will be on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools, and victims.

He later added that the prosecution was seeking the maximum sentence of five to 10 years in state prison-as well as a $25,000 fine and costs of prosecution-because Cosby showed "no acceptance of responsibility for his actions" and "no remorse".

On Monday, the first day of the sentencing hearing, Constand said in a written statement submitted to the court that the attack had turned her into a woman who was "stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward".

Judge O'Neill wrote last week in response to Cosby's last desperate bid to get the rape case thrown out of court: "And now this 19th day of September, 2018, upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion for Disclosure, Recusal and For Reconsideration of Recusal, and supporting Memorandum of Law, filed September 11, 2018, and the Commonwealth's Response thereto, filed September 13, 2018, it is hereby ORDERED and DECREED that the Motion is DENIED in its entirety".

Cosby himself did not address the court. The assault occurred in 2004 at Cosby's suburban Philadelphia home.

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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.

"Your honor, I have testified", Constand said.

Bill Cosby - one of the most iconic figures in modern USA history, a multiplatform entertainer who revolutionized comedy in the 1960s and the television sitcom in the 1980s - will learn his fate Tuesday for drugging and molesting a woman who once saw him as a mentor. Cosby declined to participate in the evaluation by Dudley, who said she came to her determination by reviewing trial transcripts and other reports.

The Temple University basketball administrator went to police a year later, only to have a prosecutor turn down the case. The jury heard me.

After testifying for several hours at two trials, the first of which ended in a hung jury, Constand spoke in court Monday for just two minutes.

The hearing is set to conclude Tuesday after testimony from a defense psychologist who believes Cosby is no longer a danger, given his age, and should not be branded a "sexually violent predator". "The victims cannot be unraped, all we can do is hold the perpetrators responsible".

During victim impact statements on Monday, Constand's mother told the court that her family feels vindicated.

The sentencing came as another extraordinary #MeToo drama unfolded on Capitol Hill, where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands accused of sexual misconduct more than three decades ago.

Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.

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