WATCH LIVE: Bill Cosby sentenced after sexual assault trial
Judge Steven O'Neill made the decision before he was to sentence Cosby, 81, who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
A judge ruled that Bill Cosby is a "sexually violent predator" during the actor's sentencing hearing, where he was expected to learn Tuesday whether he will go to prison for up to 10 years or be sent home on probation.
Judge Steven O'Neill made the decision before he was to sentence Cosby, 81, who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The former Temple University women's basketball administrator had testified that Cosby violated her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004 after she came to him for career advice.
Once regarded as "America's Dad" for his lovable character as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," Cosby now carries the distinction of being the first celebrity to go on trial and the first to be convicted in the age of #MeToo. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, but was only criminally charged in Constand’s case.
The sexually violent predator distinction under Pennsylvania law means Cosby will have to undergo monthly counseling, and register with police if he moves so that neighbors and schools will be alerted if he lives nearby.
Cosby asked if he would have to register if he travels to another city overnight. He was told he would.
Cosby was also given a chance to speak in his defense on Tuesday, but declined. When he was asked if he wanted to add anything, he said, "I don't need any more discussion on that."
The defense did not call any character witnesses, and Cosby's wife, Camille, was not in court Monday.
On Monday, Kristen Dudley, a psychologist for the state of Pennsylvania, testified the sexually violent predator label is applicable to Cosby because he shows signs of a mental disorder that prevents him from denying the urge to violate women, and would probably do so again.
Cosby's lawyers countered that the law is unconstitutional, additional allegations of sexual misconduct are hearsay, and Cosby's age and blindness make it unlikely that he will victimize anyone else.
On Tuesday, a defense psychologist echoed that the chances are "extraordinarily low" that Cosby would commit a repeat offense.
The psychologist, Timothy Foley, said he met with Cosby in July, but Cosby's lawyers wouldn't let them discuss the assault that led to Cosby's conviction or his 2005 admission that he gave quaaludes to women before sex.
onstand was given a chance to speak during the sentencing hearing Monday, and addressed the court for about two minutes. "The jury heard me. Mr. Cosby heard me. Now all I am asking for is justice as the court sees fit," said Constand, who submitted a longer victim-impact statement that wasn't read in court.
In the statement, released Tuesday, Constand said she was “at the top of my game” — physically, professionally and emotionally — before Cosby assaulted her.
“I knew who I was and I liked who I was,” she wrote. But “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” Constand wrote. “He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.”
Constand said reliving the assault in court during the first trial, which ended in a mistrial in June 2017, and in the retrial, along with the criticism she took on as a result, left her feeling “traumatized all over again.” But she said she knew she had to speak out in an effort to save possible future victims from Cosby, and with the hope of helping all sexual assault victims.
She said she has often expected to find a sense of peace and closure after the assault, but “almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged women who’s been stuck in a holding pattern most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or move forward.”
Cosby, 81, settled Constand's civil claim in 2006 for $3.4 million and has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
In the Constand case, in which Cosby was found guilty in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, the entertainer could face up to 10 years of prison. But his lawyers are arguing he should serve his time on house arrest, given his age. They have said they plan to appeal any prison time, and it's unclear whether Cosby would remain free during that process.
Prosecutors are asking that Cosby be given five to 10 years in prison and pay a 25,000 fine on top of court costs given that he has allegedly hurt many people and shown no remorse.
"To say he is too old to [go to prison], that he should get a pass because it has taken this long to catch up for what he has done ... what they are asking for is a get out of jail free card," prosecutor Kevin Steele said. "Nobody is above the law. Nobody." Steele said Tuesday that just because Cosby is legally blind doesn't mean he's incapable of sexual assault.
No other alleged victims of Cosby's are expected to take the stand during sentencing. Five women testified during his retrial after the first ended in a hung jury.