By MARYCLAIRE DALE along with MICHAEL R. SISAK
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — At an age when other Hollywood stars are settling in to retirement and collecting lifetime-achievement awards, also an 81-year-old Bill Cosby had been headed from jail in handcuffs Tuesday, sentenced to three to a decade behind bars in what was viewed by many of his accusers as a reckoning richly deserved and long overdue.
The comedian, TV star and breaker of barriers became the first star of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison. He was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his property in 2004 after being barraged with offenses from over 60 women over the previous five decades.
“It really is time to get justice. Mr. Cosbythis has circled back to you. The time has arrived,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill stated. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “lovely spirit and smashed it. ”
Cosby declined the chance to speak until the sentence came , and afterward sat laughing and conversing with his defense staff. His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court. Constand smiled broadly on hearing the punishment and was hugged by other people in the court.
In a blistering statement, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the comic was subjected to the “sexist and most racist trial in the background of the United States. ” Wyatt said all three of the psychologists who testified from Cosby have been “ white women who make money from accusing of being sexual predators men. ”
Cosby’s lawyers however, the judge seemed incredulous over the petition and ordered him locked up immediately, stating that he would quite possibly be a threat to the community. ”
The comedian — who is legally blind and uses a cane — walked in a dress shirt and suspenders and removed his watch, tie and jacket, his hands cuffed in front of him. He seemed downcast, his eyes failing to meet with the camera, in a mug photo published by authorities.
Cosby should function the minimum of three years before becoming eligible for parole.
“For decades, the defendant has been able to conceal his true self and then conceal his crimes with his fame and fortune. He’s concealed behind a character that he made, Dr. Cliff Huxtable,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said at a press conference, speaking to Cosby’s best-known function. However, “now, ultimately, Bill Cosby was unmasked, and we have seen the man as he’s led off to prison. ”
Constand stood at Steele’s side but shook her head to say she had no opinion.
Model Janice Dickinson, who accused Cosby of violating her, said and looked at him in the court: “Who has got the last laugh, pal? ”
Another accuser in the court, Lili Bernard, said: “There is comfort. It is his fame and his fortune and his own philanthropy that’s allowed him to escape with impunity. Maybe this can send a message to other perpetrators that are powerful that they will be caught and penalized. ”
Cosby’s punishment, which also contained a $25,000 fine, arrived at the conclusion of a two-day hearing where the judge declared him a “sexually violent predator” — a modern day encrusted letter that subjects him monthly counseling for the rest of his life and demands neighbors and schools be notified of his whereabouts. An psychologist for the state testified that Cosby appears to have a mental disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to have sex with women.
The comic once known as America’s Dad because of his character over the Cosby Show” in the 1980s was convicted in April of violating Constand, Temple University girls ’s basketball administrator, at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. It was the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.
Constand testified that Cosby gave her the things she believed were herbal pills to ease stress, as she lay trapped onto a couch subsequently penetrated her fingers. Cosby promised the encounter was consensual, along with his lawyers branded her a “con artist” who framed the comedian to acquire a major payday — a 3.4 million settlement she received upwards of a decade ago.
The stand was taken by five accusers at the trial as part of the attempt by prosecutors to portray him.
Cosby confronted anywhere from probation to a decade in prison. His lawyers asked for home arrest, saying he’s too old and vulnerable to visit prison. Prosecutors requested for five to 10 years behind bars, cautioning that he could pose a danger.
The sentencing came as yet another extraordinary #MeToo drama unfolded on Capitol Hill, in which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands accused of sexual misconduct.
Women’s advocates hailed Cosby’s sentence as a minute.
Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York, credited Cosby’s with helping pave the way for #MeToo, accusers.
“Bill Cosby visiting the inside of a prison cell sends a message that predators — no matter that they are, from Hollywood to Wall Street to the Supreme Court — can be shielded at the expense of sufferers.
Steele said Cosby might be sent to Laurel Highlands, a state prison because of lower-risk inmates on the opposing side of the country, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. It functions offenders and contains separate housing units for programs and geriatric prisoners for sex criminals.
In a statement submitted to the court and released Tuesday, Constand, 45said that she’s had to cope with years of anxiety and self-doubt. She said she has difficulty trusting people and lives alone with her two puppies.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young lady brimming with optimism and looking forward to a future bright with chances,” she wrote in her five-page statement. “Now, nearly 15 years later, I’m so a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for the majority of her adult life, unable to cure completely or to move forward. ”
She wrote of Cosby: “We might never know the full extent of his dual life as a sexual predator, but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is finished. ”
The AP does not identify unless they come forward openly, which Constand along with other accusers do.
Constand went to authorities a year later waking up in a sidewalk at Cosby’s real estate, her clothing askew, simply to have the district attorney pass the case. The following DA reopened the document a decade later and charged the TV star after stand-up comic Hannibal Buress’ riff about Cosby being a rapist prompted other women to come forward and after a federal judge, acting on a petition from The Associated Press, unsealed some of Cosby’s startling, decade-old testimony in Constand’s associated civil suit.
In his testimony, Cosby explained sexual encounters with a string of actresses, models and other young women and talked about obtaining quaaludes to contribute to people he wished to sleep with.
Cosby’s trial in 2017 finished with a hung jury. He was convicted at a retrial that started months after the #MeToo motion had taken down these amounts as Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, NBC’s Matt Lauer, actor Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.
“We are the floodgates,” said Victoria Valentino, who’s accused Cosby of drugging and raping her. “We gave the women who opened their mouths about Harvey Weinstein courage. ”
Cosby, whose projected fortune once topped $400 million, also broke barriers in the 1960s as the first black actor to star in a community show, “I Spy. ” He went on to superstardom as wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable about “The Cosby Show,” a sitcom that showed America a new kind of shameful TV family: a hot and loving household headed by two specialists, one a lawyer, the other a doctor.
In addition, he found success with his Saturday morning animation “Fat Albert,” appeared in advertisements for Jello-O pudding and turned into a people moralist, lecturing the black community about young folks stealing things and wearing tight pants. He won a Presidential Medal of Freedom and innumerable Emmys, Golden Globes and Grammy awards.
Since the allegations mountedhis career all but dropped, “Cosby Show” reruns were removed from the atmosphere, and one college after yet another stripped him of his honorary degrees.
Associated Press reporter Claudia Lauer contributed to the story.
For more protection, see: https://apnews.com/tag/BillCosby
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