Disgraced comedy legend Bill Cosby is set to spend up to a decade behind bars: He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday.
Cosby appeared before Pennsylvania Judge Steven O'Neill on Monday and Tuesday for sentencing hearings to determine his fate, after a jury found him guilty of three counts of sexual assault back in April. The verdict stems from a 2004 encounter with Andrea Constand, who testified that Cosby drugged and raped her in his Philadelphia home.
Though each charge faced a potential 10-year sentence, meaning Cosby could have received up to 30 years behind bars, defense attorneys argued that their client -- who is 81 and legally blind -- was too old and frail to spend time in prison, and requested house arrest instead. Prosecutors countered by asking O'Neill to hand down a sentence of five to 10 years, arguing that Cosby was still a threat to women.
The judge seemingly agreed, sentencing Cosby to "total confinement," and earlier during the proceedings, declaring him to be a "sexually violent predator," meaning Cobsy must undergo monthly counseling for the rest of his life, and also register as a sex offender. He has been accused of sexual assault by more than 50 other women.
"It is time for justice," O'Neill said on Tuesday. "Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come."
In a victim impact statement read in court, Constand described the harrowing toll that Cosby's assault took, essentially ruining her chances of ever having a normal life. She has been plagued by overwhelming fear, self-doubt, and isolation, she said.
"Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others," Constand's statement said. "Instead of looking back, I am looking forward to looking forward. I want to get to the place where the person I was meant to be gets a second chance. ... 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."
While Cosby's eventual fall from grace was swift, it took decades for his sins to come to light, despite rumors circulating throughout Hollywood for years. It was difficult to reconcile Cosby's public image -- he once dubbed America's Dad for his jovial portrayal of Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" -- with the predator many women described.
As recently as 2014, he was developing a sitcom on NBC, before comedian Hannibal Buress re-publicized the allegations against him, and dozens of women publicly came forward. Since then, Cosby's career has vanished, and many institutions have distanced themselves from him (including The Academy, which revoked his membership earlier this year).
Cosby has maintained that all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
[via: The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter]