US Television icon Bill Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad, sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near 14 years ago.
The 81-year-old is the first celebrity convicted and sentenced for a sex crime since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein ushered in the #MeToo movement and America’s reckoning with sexual harassment.
Convicted five months ago of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former university basketball administrator, he showed no reaction when Judge Steven O’Neill handed down the sentence in a court in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
It makes him one of the famous Americans ever ordered to serve a prison sentence, in a country where fame and unlimited wealth spent on brilliant lawyers have tended to help celebrities avoid jail in the past.
The sentence means that Cosby could spend at least three years in prison, but up to 10. While the defence asked their client to remain under house arrest pending an appeal, the judge ordered him to be remanded into custody.
Mr. Cosby’s trial and conviction has played out at a time when the country is coming to terms with a culture of predatory sexual abuse by powerful men.
A large number of the women who accused Mr. Cosby of abusing them had expected a long prison sentence, one that offered a measure of comfort since their own claims were barred by the statute of limitations when they came forward in the past few years.