Friday, 19 October, 2018

US comedian Bill Cosby declared ‘sexually violent predator’

Bill Cosby deemed a sexually violent predator, judge rules Bill Cosby a 'sexually violent predator', court hears
Diane Mills | 26 September, 2018, 15:45

Disgraced comedy legend Bill Cosby is set to spend up to a decade behind bars: He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday. His name will appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools and victims.

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. What is unusual is that after being convicted of these serious sex crimes in April, the judge sent Cosby home under house arrest rather than directly to prison, something prosecutors requested but were ultimately denied.

Before handing down the prison sentence, Judge O'Neill also chose to designate Cosby a "sexually violent predator" under Pennsylvania law.

In a written statement to O'Neill, which was released Tuesday, Constand wrote, "Bill Cosby took my lovely, healthy young spirit and crushed it".

In the statement, she described herself before the assault as a young, strong woman looking forward to a future with bright possibilities.

Meanwhile, a defence psychologist testified Tuesday that the chances of the comedian committing another sex offence are "extraordinarily low" because he is old, legally blind and needs help getting around.

Constand is one of 60 women who has accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.

Constand and nine women who also have accused Cosby of sexually predatory acts were in court Tuesday morning to hear Judge Steven T. O'Neill deliver his verdict.

Bill Cosby is led from the courtroom during a break by his spokesman Andrew Wyatt at the Montgomery County Courthouse, during his sentencing hearing in Norristown, Pa., Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.

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On Monday, a psychologist for the state testified that Cosby appears to have a mental disorder that gives him an uncontrollable urge to assault women. It was the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Cosby is now free on US$1-million bail until he's sentenced, which is expected to happen Tuesday. Early on in the investigation, she pressed the district attorney's office to charge Cosby and if not for her, the DA said his team would not have gotten the conviction.

"The next morning I woke up, and I wasn't wearing my pajamas", she said. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, and his lawyers branded her a "con artist" who framed the comedian to get a big payday - a $3.4 million settlement she received over a decade ago.

O'Neill said he gave substantial weight to the impact of the sexual assault on victim Andrea Constand, who was seated in the courtroom when the sentence was announced.

Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby's wife, said in a statement that she had retained a former prosecutor to facilitate her efforts to "uncover the truth" regarding what she says is a feud between O'Neill and Castor.

Ms Constand wrote that Cosby's 2004 attack on her was just "the tip of the iceberg" for the suffering that followed.

Soon after that proceeding hit the headlines, a series of women began levelling sexual misconduct allegations against influential men, launching the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Cosby cemented his family-friendly reputation playing the affable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s television comedy "The Cosby Show". He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century.

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