Bill Cosby has been branded a “sexually violent predator” and jailed for three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, months after he was first found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The comedian, 81, was pictured being escorted out of a Pennsylvania courtroom in handcuffs on Tuesday, before being taken straight to prison. A mugshot has since been released by Montgomery County Correctional Facility showing the disgraced star looking downcast in a white shirt and no jacket.
“This was a serious crime. It is time for justice. Mr Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Judge Steven O’Neill said in court, according to the Mail Online. “No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently.”
Cosby’s name will now appear on a sex-offender registry and he must undergo lifetime counselling and report four times a year to authorities.
He has been found guilty of drugging and molesting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004. She has since released a statement accusing Cosby of taking away her “beautiful, young spirit” and “crushing it”.
According to The Australian, Constand said in a statement to the court: “When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities… Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”
She added: “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.”
Cosby was also fined $25,000 and ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution, with the judge calling his crimes “very serious.”
According to multiple reports, prosecutors were seeking a sentence of five to 10 years in prison while the defence wanted house arrest. Cosby declined an offer to address the court before his sentencing.
The courtroom was reportedly filled with some of the 60 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. He is now the first celebrity to be jailed in the #MeToo era, the campaign against sexual violence that has gripped the world for the past year.
Cosby’s wife of 54 years, Camille, who has been a constant support to him throughout the last few years, was not in court during the sentencing.
He will spend the first few days of his prison sentence in Montgomery County Correctional Facility before being taken to new state prison SCI Phoenix, outside Philadelphia.