Washington: Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday by a court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to a minimum of three years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill handed down the sentence of 3-10 years a few hours after accepting the recommendation of a state panel to classify the 81-year-old comedian as a “sexually violent predator”, Efe reported.
Cosby was led handcuffed from the courtroom by police after the judge refused to release him on bail during pending appeals.
The sexual predator designation implies that Cosby will be included in sex-offender registries that are sent to schools and that must submit to regular therapy sessions for the rest of his life.
The trial charged Cosby with sexual aggression against Andrea Constand in 2004.
The comedian met Constand in 2001 when she was working as an administrator with the Temple University women’s basketball team and Cosby, the school’s most famous alumnus, sat on the Philadelphia institution’s board of trustees.
Constand, now 45, said that during an early 2004 visit to Cosby’s mansion in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, he drugged her and penetrated her with his fingers while she was immobilized by the effect of the drug.
Though the maximum sentence he could have received was 30 years behind bars, the judge himself asked for a prison sentence of 5-10 years.
More than 60 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexually abusing them between 1960-2000, but those alleged offences could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.
According to the plea entered by the prosecution, Cosby remains a risk to women, an argument used to request that he be deprived of his freedom and which was accepted by the judge.
For its part, the defence had portrayed Cosby as a disabled old man who posed no threat to society, and introduced Tuesday the testimony of a psychologist who supported his attorney’s plea that he be released.