Disgraced pudding pop pitchman Bill Cosby finally got his just desserts.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill on Tuesday sentenced the fallen funnyman to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Temple University’s woman basketball administrator Andrea Constand nearly 15 years ago. He was escorted from the Montgomery District Courthouse in handcuffs after the judge denied him bail.
“It’s time for justice,” O’Neill said. “Mr. Cosby this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”
Cosby had faced a maximum of 10 years behind bars and a fine of $25,000, with prosecutors arguing that he has not once shown remorse for his actions. Cosby’s legal team alternatively requested the once beloved television star, now 81 and legally blind, be placed on house arrest as he does not pose a risk to the community.
P.J. Masten — who came forward in 2014 to accuse Cosby of of drugging and raping her in 1979, when she worked as a Bunny manager at the Playboy Club in Chicago — said she was overcome with emotion when she heard the sentence.
“I just hope he suffers in prison,” Masten said. “His survivors have suffered for more than 40 years. It’s now his turn to suffer and see what it feels like. We’ve had attempted suicides, hospital stays, ongoing therapy. We’ve been attacked and spit on. It’s been horrific.”
O’Neill on Tuesday also declared Cosby to be a “sexually violent predator,” a designation that requires the former comedian to register as a sex offender and submit to counseling for the remainder of his life. The label however, had no impact on the length of his sentence.
Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, meanwhile said the former comic and Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh — who is separately weathering sexual misconduct allegations recently brought against him — are victims of “a sex war.”
“This has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States,” he said, placing the blame specifically on “white women who make money off accusing black men of being sexually violent predators.”
“They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,” Wyatt said, reading his statement outside the courthouse. “Mr. Cosby is fine. He’s holding up well. Anyone who wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well.”
Cosby in April was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and molesting Constand in 2004 at his home just outside Philadelphia. She reported the incident to police in 2005 but the district attorney at the time did not press charges — so she brought a civil suit against the actor.
In the years since, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 60 women, prompting officials to reexamine the case. His once family-friendly reputation, sparked by his portrayal of the lovable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom,”The Cosby Show,” eclipsed by the slew of allegations.
“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,” Constand said in a victim impact statement released Tuesday.
“I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me. The pressure was enormous. I knew that how my testimony was perceived — that how I was perceived — would have an impact on every member of the jury and on the future mental and emotional well-being of every sexual assault victim who came before me. But I had to testify.”
Cosby was first charged back in December 2015, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations on the crime ran out. He pleaded not guilty, claiming that Constand was a willing sexual partner. His lawyers were quick to brand her as a “con artist” who framed the comedian for the money, pointing to the $3.4 million settlement she received a decade back.
Constand, 45, offered a much different account during emotional and often excruciating testimony at Cosby’s first trial in June 2017, which ended with a deadlocked jury, and again at his retrial five months ago.
The former head of women’s basketball operations at Cosby’s alma mater, Constand said she considered the disgraced actor a mentor and father figure the night he offered her three unidentified blue pills he referred to as “your friends” during a meeting to discuss her career.
She thought the pills were herbal remedies for stress, she testified, and was stunned and confused when they caused her words to slur, her vision to blur and her legs to turn rubbery.
Constand told the jurors she felt powerless as Cosby groped her breasts, penetrated her with his fingers and masturbated himself with her hand.
“I wanted it to stop,” she said on the witness stand in April. “I was weak. I was limp, and I could not fight him off.”
While Cosby’s first jury failed to reach a verdict after marathon deliberations, his second jury of five women and seven men returned a unanimous verdict after a 12-day trial that included new testimony from five additional accusers, including former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
“The harrowing memory of the rape continues to this day. I have reoccurring nightmares, I wake up in fear, I fear the dark. I struggle to discuss this even with my beloved husband of 6 years,” Dickinson said in a statement, adding that she “will never be the same.”
During a press conference after the sentencing hearing, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby not only used his on-screen personality to manipulate women, but that he also used it as a shield to hide behind.
“It was seminal character on TV, and so was the family, but it was fiction,” he said.
“Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs and began paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that’s who he was … He used his acting skills that endearing TV personal to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them
Cosby was held under house arrest and on Tuesday returned to court in suburban Philadelphia for the second and final day of his sentencing hearing. He sported a small grin as he shuffled past both fans and protesters gathering outside in spite of the dreary weather.
“We’re right here with you Bill! Hold your head up,” a man nearby shouted as dozens more called out to the convicted felon.
Cosby was also granted an opportunity to speak on his own behalf Tuesday afternoon, but declined.
“I don’t need any more discussion on that,” he said.
Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board had already recommended Cosby be designated a “sexually violent predator” during the first day of his sentencing hearing. Psychologist and board member Kristen Dudely on Monday testified that after a review of trial testimony and police documents, she does believe Cosby meets the criteria for the sexual offender label.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele echoed the sentiment, adding that Cosby would commit similar crimes should he have the chance.
“To say that he is too old to do that — to say that he should get a pass because its taken this long to catch up to what he’s done?” Steele said. “What they’re asking for is a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
Cosby’s defense team however, balked at the label.
“The suggestion that Mr. Cosby is dangerous is not supported by anything other than the frenzy,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. said.
Under Pennsylvania law, Cosby will have to serve the minimum three years before he can be eligible for Parole.
With News Wire Services