Bill Cosby, Once America’s Dad, Deemed ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ and Sentenced Up to 10 Years in Prison
A retrial in April found the actor guilty of three counts of sexual assault for drugging and attacking a former friend, Andrea Constand, in 2004. The verdict was considered a breakthrough for the #MeToo movement and came after more than 50 women spoke to numerous media outlets with sexual misconduct allegations against the actor.
A public figure since the 1960s, Cosby is best known to audiences as the beloved patriarch from the groundbreaking ‘80s sitcom The Cosby Show and his memorable stint as a Jell-O spokesperson. But behind the wholesome image that earned Cosby the moniker “America’s Dad” lurked rumors that the actor had a habit of drugging and sexually assaulting women.
Cosby’s sinister, behind-the-scenes reputation surfaced in a 2014 stand-up set by comedian Hannibal Buress. Video of Buress’ set went viral and prompted more than a dozen women to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault.
Before issuing Cosby’s sentence, Judge Steven O’Neill upheld a state board’s finding that the 81-year-old is a sexually violent predator. This legal designation means that the onetime sitcom dad is considered dangerous to the health and safety of others unless confined in a secure facility. In accordance with the judge’s designation, the BBCreports that Cosby will need to register with state police and notify neighbors, area schools, and child care facilities of his sex offender status and whereabouts. Cosby will also be required to undergo counseling for the rest of his life.
A psychologist testified on Monday that Cosby’s behavior was consistent with a mental disorder and that he was likely to reoffend.
One of Cosby’s accusers, former actress Kathy McKee, told CNN that the she is happy about the sentence. Nevertheless, she said the news is provoking “very difficult and deep emotions.” McKee is now suing the disgraced actor for defamation.
In a victim impact statement provided to reporters on Tuesday, Constand said that Cosby’s attack had robbed her of vitality as a “young woman brimming with confidence.”
“To truly understand the impact that the sexual assault has had on my life,” she said, “you have to understand the person that I was before it happened.”
In addition to Constand, nine other women who have accused Cosby of sexual abuse were present at the sentencing.
(Photos by Hulton Archive + Mark Makela/Getty Images)