“America’s dad” is going to prison.
Bill Cosby, the disgraced comedian-turned-felon convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, was sentenced to at least three years in state prison on Tuesday, and could face a maximum 10 years behind bars — essentially amounting to a life sentence.
The 81-year-old former actor and namesake of the long-running hit ’80s sitcom “The Cosby Show,” was found guilty in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in a retrial of a Pennsylvania sexual assault case, which determined beyond a reasonable doubt that he attacked Constand in his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His prison sentence is one of the first of the #MeToo era, after Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar.
Judge Steven O’Neill said Cosby was not entitled to bail, should he choose to appeal, according to the Associated Press. Cosby's lawyers attempted to fight that claim — saying their client should remain on home confinement pending appeals — but O'Neill didn't relent.
Cosby was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Nearly 60 women have stepped forward to accuse Cosby — once known as “America’s dad” from his role on the NBC show — of sexual assault, but many of the allegations are too old to pursue in criminal court under statutes of limitation. (The first trial regarding Constand’s case ended in a deadlocked jury in 2017, and is the only case thus far that has resulted in a conviction.)
Prosecutors had asked for five to 10 years in prison.
In Constand’s case, Cosby previously faced up to 30 years in prison, or a maximum of 10 years for each charge against him. In the five months since his conviction, Cosby had remained out on bail. Cosby paid out a $3.4 million settlement to Constand in 2006 as part of a civil lawsuit.
He declined to make any statement in court, his spokesperson told the Associated Press. The Philadelphia Enquirer reported that he appeared upbeat in the courtroom on Tuesday.
Constand said in a victim impact statement released Tuesday that “life as I knew it” ended the night Cosby attacked her, saying she’s since faced “insurmountable stress and anxiety.”
Before Cosby’s sentencing hearing began this week, she simply posted a Bible verse on Twitter.
Cosby’s attorneys argued Monday that it was unconstitutional and too punitive for Cosby to be subjected to lifetime registration with state police as a “sexually violent predator.” The judge ruled Monday that it’s constitutional for such requirements to be imposed — at least as the issue is pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — and further ruled Tuesday that Cosby should be designated as a sexually violent predator.
His lawyers also asked for house arrest rather than prison time, given his age, according to Reuters.
Cover: Bill Cosby arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)