Bill Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home back in 2004 — the final step in his downward spiral from America’s Dad to convicted felon.
Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill imposed the sentence after the disgraced entertainer was alternately portrayed as an 81-year-old man who deserved house arrest and a serial predator who deserved five to 10 years in state prison.
Earlier in the day, O’Neill declared the disgraced entertainer a “sexually violent predator.” The designation means that Cosby, who is legally blind, will be subject to lifetime reporting requirements, meaning that he will have to advise law enforcement authorities of where he is residing.
District Attorney Kevin Steele asked O’Neill to impose the maximum sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, and to reject defense arguments that Cosby should be allowed to serve any sentence under house arrest.
“This should be a state prison sentence,” said Steele, who said the state even has a prison facility for old and infirm inmates.
Defense attorney Joseph P. Green Jr. rejected the prosecution’s contention that Cosby should be considered dangerous, saying he couldn’t recall any instance in which an 81-year-old, blind defendant had been sent to state prison.
Cosby was found guilty in April of molesting Andrea Constand, who had been operations manager of the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby had been a major supporter and donor.
It was the first sentencing of a celebrity in the passionate atmosphere of the #MeToo movement, and the case provided a backdrop not just for Constand’s allegation, but for some of the dozens of other women who accused Cosby of assaulting them and faithfully attended the court proceedings here.