Disgraced comedian Bill Cosby has been sentenced to serve three to 10 years in a Pennsylvania state prison, a judge ruled Tuesday. Cosby, who was also confirmed as a sexually violent predator by Judge Steven T. O’Neill—meaning he will appear in the sex offenders’ registry for the rest of his life and will be required to notify any community he resides in of his status—was found guilty this April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby’s defense team said it will appeal the conviction.
Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball team director of operations, at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. In her original testimony, Constand said Cosby gave her three blue pills that rendered her unconscious shortly after ingesting them. When she awoke, Constand said that Cosby was assaulting her. “I was frozen. I wasn’t able to fight … I wanted it to stop,” she said in June 2017 during the first trial. “I felt really humiliated, and I was really confused.”
“This was a serious crime,” O’Neill said, addressing the comedian following his verdict. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come.” O’Neill also rejected the defense team’s suggestion that Cosby be allowed to serve his sentence under house arrest, rather than behind bars. “I’m not permitted to treat him any differently based on who he is or who he was,” the judge said.
Cosby was originally arrested in 2015 and tried in 2017. However, the first trial ended with a hung jury after jurors spent six days deliberating without reaching a unanimous verdict. After the court declared a mistrial, District Attorney Kevin Steele announced that he would retry the case. The second trial began in early April and ended with a conviction less than three weeks later, after a new set of jurors deliberated for more than 14 hours over two days.
Constand is one of 60 women who have said that Cosby sexually assaulted and harassed them over the course of five decades. Cosby has denied all of the accounts of harassment, rape, sexual assault, and drugging that women have come forward with. In a victim impact statement provided to the court and released Tuesday, Constand detailed the impact Cosby’s assault had on her life. “When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” the statement read. “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. Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.” Toward the end of her statement, Constand said, “Instead of looking back, I am looking forward to looking forward. I want to get to the place where the person I was meant to be gets a second chance.”