Despite heartfelt pleas in victims impact statements and sharp words from lawyers on both sides, Bill Cosby will see the inside of a prison cell for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand for less than three years, the judge in the Cosby criminal case told a Pennsylvania courtroom Monday.
The Pennsylvania judge sentencing comedian Bill Cosby on a sex assault conviction announced all three charges will be merged together during the first day of sentencing Monday.
In April, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. With each count carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, the 81-year-old actor could have been hit with a three-decade sentence behind bars. He is currently under house arrest and out on $1 million bail.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill announced the three counts against Cosby would be merged, as they all stem from the same incident in which he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault for drugging and molesting a former friend, Andrea Constand, at his home in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia.
Sentencing guidelines indicate Cosby, 81, could face 22 months to 36 months in prison, with the possibility of an additional 12 months due to aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
Prosecutors also brought forth an effort Monday to categorize Cosby as a “sexually violent predator,” as recommended by a Pennsylvania state board.
Kristen Dudley, a psychologist who prepared the board report testified that Cosby has a personality disorder that was made evident by a lifetime of pursuing non-consenting women, which she said wasn’t lessened by his old age.
She added the behaviors are beyond Cosby’s control and he is likely to reoffend.
“It is possible that he has already met someone who could be a future victim,” Dudley said.
The sentencing can’t take place until O’Neill decides whether to classify Cosby as a sexually violent predator, as it can affect sentencing and conditions placed on a person while in prison and afterward.
Andrea Constand and her family read their victim impact statements to the court and Andrea Constand delivered a brief statement.
“I have testified, I have given you my victim impact statement. You heard me, the jury heard me and Mr. Cosby heard me. All I’m asking for is justice as the court sees fit,” she said.
“The thought of what happened to my daughter Andrea will always be with me forever like a dark cloud hanging over my head,” he said.
Andrea Constand’s oldest sister, Diana Parsons, said her sister was her hero and that “she still walks around with a smile on her face and a positive attitude” after the assault.
Prior to the charges being merged,Cosby faced a sentence of as many as 30 years.
Two other women who say they were drugged and assaulted by Cosby and testified at his trial say the sentencing is appropriate.
“I think he needs to pay for what he’s done to everyone,” said Chelan Lasha, who said she was assaulted in 1986. “I have nightmares about it this very day and I want them to go away, just like him.”
Lisa-Lotte Lublin said she was victimized in 1989.
“He’s committed a crime and everyone’s responsible for their actions, and at some point he’s got to take responsibility,” she said.
Cosby could begin serving time by Tuesday night, or he could be allowed to wear an ankle bracelet under house arrest while he appeals.
An appeal could hinge on the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Prosecutors used a 2005-06 deposition Cosby gave during Andrea Constand’s civil lawsuit.
Under oath, Cosby testified at that time that he’d given Quaaludes, a now-banned sedative, to women the same way a person would “have a drink.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 24th, 2018