Bill Cosby Sentenced to 3 to 10 Years in Prison

Mark Makela/Pool Photo via AP
Bill Cosby is taken away in handcuffs after he was sentenced to three-to 10-years for felony sexual assault on Sept. 25, 2018 in Norristown, Pa. 

Bill Cosby has been sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He has been sentenced to "total confinement," a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced Cosby on Tuesday, five months after his conviction in the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Ahead of the Tuesday sentencing, Judge O'Neill ruled that Cosby is a "sexually violent predator." The classification means that Cosby must undergo monthly counseling for the rest of his life and report quarterly to authorities. His name will appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools and victims.

When the ruling came down, a woman in courtroom shot her fist into the air and whispered, "Yessss!"   

The comic once known as America's Dad for his role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show was facing anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison after being convicted in April.

Cosby's lawyers had asked for house arrest, saying 81-year-old Cosby — who is legally blind — is too old and helpless to do time in prison. Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years behind bars, saying the comic could still be a threat to women.

Constand said in a victim-impact statement submitted to the court and released Tuesday that she has had to cope with years of anxiety and self-doubt that have left her "stuck in a holding pattern."

Constand, 45, said her training as a professional basketball player had led her to think she could handle anything, but "life as I knew it" ended on the night she said Cosby knocked her out with pills and penetrated her with his fingers as she lay nearly paralyzed on a couch.

Constand said she now lives alone with her two dogs and has trouble trusting people. "When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities," she wrote in her five-page statement.

"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."

She also wrote: "We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over."

In the years since Constand first went to authorities in 2005, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, though none of those claims have led to criminal charges.

Cosby was smiling and joking with his spokesman and sheriff's deputies as he settled into the courtroom Tuesday. On Day 1 of the sentencing, the comic laughed at times as the psychologist for the state testified.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom; they are generally banned in Pennsylvania.

The proceedings took place as another extraordinary #MeToo drama continued to unfold on Capitol Hill, where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct from more than three decades ago.

Cosby became the first black actor to star in a primetime TV show, I Spy, in 1965. He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century.