NORRISTOWN, Pa. — His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.
The punishment all but completed the dizzying, late-in-life fall from grace for the comedian, former TV star and breaker of racial barriers.
“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s own statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”
Cosby declined the opportunity to speak before the sentence came down, and afterward he sat and chatted with his spokesman and a lawyer, seemingly in good spirits. His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court. Constand smiled upon hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom.
Cosby’s lawyers asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail, but the judge appeared incredulous over the request and said he would not treat the celebrity any differently from others.
The punishment came at the end of a two-day hearing at which the judge declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator” — a modern-day scarlet letter that subjects him to monthly counseling for the rest of his life and requires that neighbors and schools be notified of his whereabouts.