American comedian Bill Cosby has been jailed for 3-10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constant in 2004. Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday at the Montgomery county courthouse in in Norristown, Pennsylvania by Judge Steven O’Neill.
This sentencing follows the guilty verdict that was confirmed earlier this year in April. Following this sentencing, Cosby was led away immediately in handcuffs and was refused bail. Judge O’Neill stated that Cosby “could quite possibly be a danger to the community” when justifying his decision to refuse Cosby his bail while he appeals the verdict.
Cosby, who will serve his time in state prison, did not speak before being sentenced and showed very little visible emotion as the outcome of the case was revealed. O’Neill also disclosed that Cosby’s celebrity status did not affect the severity of the ruling. Cosby’s wife, Camille, was not in court but the victim, Andrea Constant, was in attendance to see her abuser punished for his wrongdoings.
Constant, who reacted happily to the decision in court, was embraced by others in the courtroom. In fact, Judge O’Neill noted how Constant’s emotionally resonant victim statement played an integral role in deciding that only a significant period in prison would be the appropriate outcome for Cosby. “As she said, Mr Cosby, you took her beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed her,” O’Neill said.
As well as a moment of incredible justice for Constant, it was also a relief for a number of Cosby’s accusers who came forward with allegations of sexual assault against the comedian. “I have waited 32 years for this day, hoping my nightmares would go away. I prayed every day that Mr. Cosby would go to prison,” said Chelan Lasha, who also testified at the trial.
Constant also talked of the turmoil she was forced to endure in not only her personal life but her professional one. Her job with the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Philadelphia, forced Constant to interact with Cosby regularly as he was a trustee at the school. “The sound of his voice over the phone felt like a knife going through my guts,” she said.
Constant’s case is the only one to have led to criminal charges against Cosby. As it stands, more than 60 women have come forward with tales of abuse or harassment by Cosby. Five other women testified at the trial stating that they too had been assaulted. Last year, a hearing concerning these same charges resulted in a mistrial with a hung jury.