Cosby sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison

The former university trustee will register as a sex offender after being deemed a sexually violent predator.

Bill Cosby is escorted by police out of the Montgomery County Courthouse where he was then transported to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on Tuesday. Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. | HANNAH BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

UPDATE at 7:04 p.m.

Former Temple University trustee Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine on Tuesday. Cosby will be taken directly to a state facility.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled Cosby will have to register as a sex offender with the distinction of a sexually violent predator. In April, a jury convicted Cosby on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which O’Neill consolidated into one charge during this week’s sentencing hearing.

Cosby must update state police on his living situation and employment, attend monthly mandatory sex offender counseling for the rest of his life and allow his home address and personal identifiers to be posted online for the public.

Cosby was first taken to Montgomery County Correctional Facility and transferred to State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Collegeville, where officials will determine where he will spend the remainder of his sentence, said Kate Delano, the director of communications for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.

O’Neill said he recognized the “seriousness of the crime” and did not take Cosby’s celebrity status into consideration when sentencing him.

“I will not treat him any differently because of who he is, or who he was,” O’Neill said. “I put a high amount of weight on his victim’s experience.”

“The time has come,” he added.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a press conference after the sentencing that “justice was served.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele speaks at a press conference following the sentencing of Bill Cosby on Tuesday. | HANNAH BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“A lot of people believed that’s who [Cosby] was, [the characters he played],” Steele added. “Finally Bill Cosby had been unmasked, and we have seen the real man as he is sent off to prison.”

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesperson, said the trial was “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States,” citing the fact that Cosby’s civil rights and philanthropic efforts were not brought up.

In response to putting a Black celebrity in jail, Steele said this case is no different than others for which he has been an attorney.

Cosby’s defense attorney Joseph Green Jr. asked O’Neill to grant Cosby bail, but O’Neill denied his request. The defense said the team will file an appeal.

In 2004, Cosby, a university trustee at the time, sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the director of operations for the Temple women’s basketball team, in his Montgomery County home. As part of Cosby’s sentence, he is no longer allowed to interact with Constand or her family.

Andrea Constand at the press conference held following the sentencing of Bill Cosby on Tuesday. | HANNAH BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Constand’s victim-impact statement, which was not read aloud in court but was admitted as evidence for O’Neill, was made available to the public during the sentencing. The statement detailed her feelings of isolation and grief after Cosby assaulted her.

“After the assault, I wasn’t sure what had actually happened but the pain spoke volumes,” Constand wrote. “The shame was overwhelming. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself.”

Constand described how the criminal and civil trials negatively impacted her.

“I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears,” she added. “I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of shame and helplessness.”

After sentencing, Constand let out a sigh of relief and was comforted by friends, family and other accusers. Cosby sat solemnly in the courtroom, slowly shaking his head.

Cosby had no family present, despite the fact that this is his last day of freedom for at least three years.

Update: This story was updated to include statements from Andrew Wyatt and Kevin Steele and details about the prison where Bill Cosby will be held.

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