Norristown, PA – Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill sentenced disgraced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday.
Cosby was found guilty of three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault in a highly publicized jury trial in April.
The charges carried a maximum of 10 years each, but O’Neill opted to have the former actor’s sentences run concurrently, The New York Times reported.
Cosby was accused of drugging and raping former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia, FOX News reported.
Initially, the prosecutor didn’t pursue criminal charges against the beloved star of “The Cosby Show.” Constand sued him and settled the case for $3.4 million in 2005.
In the deposition for that case, Cosby admitted to giving women drugs and alcohol before consensual sex – statements that would come back to haunt him when Constand decided to go to the police more than 10 years later.
Numerous other women have made similar allegations since Constand came forward, but most of the alleged victims’ claims fell well outside the statute of limitations for those crimes, FOX News reported.
Seven of the women who had accused Cosby of sexual abuse were in the courtroom for his sentencing, The New York Times reported. His wife, Camille, did not attend.
Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial. The second trial led to his conviction.
There had been much speculation about how much time the 81-year-old actor would be ordered to serve, and what level of sexual offender status he would be required to register for upon his release.
Earlier in the day, before announcing the length of the actual sentence, the judge tackled the status question, FOX News reported.
Cosby’s attorneys argued that because he is legally blind, and the most recent accusation leveled happened 14 years ago, the comedian posed no threat to the community.
However, prosecutors wanted him labeled as a “sexually violent predator,” the most stringent classification.
A psychologist for the Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board convinced the judge that Cosby deserved the “sexually violent predator” label because they believed he had a personality disorder that led him to have sex with women without their consent, The New York Times reported.
That finding will have an impact on the conditions imposed on Cosby while he’s in prison and when he gets out, according to The New York Times.
“How’s he going to meet these people?” his attorney, Joseph Green, argued to the judge. “There is no reasonable prospect that an 81-year-old blind man is likely to reoffend.”
But psychologist Kristen Dudley told the judge that Cosby remained a threat, The New York Times reported.
“It is possible that he has already met someone who could be a future victim,” Dudley said.
She admitted that she had never interviewed Cosby, and said she had come to the conclusion he would be lifelong predator based on materials she had read from both court cases, The New York Times reported.
Prosecutors wanted to allow some of the other alleged victims to testify against Cosby at his sentencing, but O’Neill put the kibosh on those efforts.
Ahead of the verdict, Cosby’s attorneys filed several motions that suggested they planned to appeal the ruling.
After the sentencing, they asked that their client be allowed to remain out on bail while he pursued an appeal.
However, the judge denied bail after the ruling, putting the octogenarian directly behind bars as soon as the hearing was finished, TMZ reported.
If he’s required to serve the maximum sentence, Cosby would be 91 years old at the time of his release.