Legendary comedian Bill Cosby will serve three to 10 years in state prison, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled on Tuesday. The former television superstar, who traded on a squeaky clean, fatherly image, was sentenced after being found guilty of three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault in April in one of the most widely publicized trials in modern history.
Cosby’s sentence comes after a lengthy trial, that resulted in one mistrial and an eventual guilty verdict, in which he faced accusations from former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. He was found to have drugged and raped Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Since then, multiple women have come forward against “The Cosby Show” star with similar allegations of assault.
The first part of the sentencing hearings focused on the prosecution’s efforts to label Cosby a sexually violent predator. Despite efforts from Cosby’s defense team to argue that he is no longer a threat to anyone, Judge O’Neil ruled Tuesday that Cosby will be given that label. The classification means that Cosby must undergo lifetime counseling and report quarterly to authorities. His name will appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools, and victims.
Cosby’s trial was heralded as the first major celebrity trial of the #MeToo movement, and the first to result in a conviction. Cosby’s reputation sank after comedian Hannibal Buress brought up the numerous rape allegations against the comic in 2014. Since then, more than 60 women have come forward with allegations against him.
More than a decade prior, Constand sued Cosby in 2005, settling for nearly $3.4 million. In the deposition for that case, Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes and giving women drugs and alcohol before sex – although he said every interaction was consensual. Constand’s allegations were the only ones that could bring about a criminal case against Cosby as many of the other women’s accusations fell outside the statute of limitations.