The toppling of an American giant from the upper echelons of the Hollywood power structure is now complete.
The formerly unassailable and seemingly immortal Bill Cosby has now traded in his massive city-block-sized mansion for his new living quarters in a cramped 6×9 prison cell after a Pennsylvania judge sentenced the man once affectionately known as “America’s dad” to three to 10 years in prison.
The disgraced comedic icon, who cast a vast shadow over television during the second half of the 20th Century, was convicted in April of drugging and raping a former Tempe University employee just over a decade ago.
Just hours after slapping the label of a “sexually violent predator” on Cosby that forever tarnishes his pioneering, record-breaking legacy, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill ordered Cosby to be transported from the courtroom to the Montgomery Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania to begin serving his sentence.
Prosecutors pushed to deny Cosby bail, which would have allowed him to live at home as he awaited his appeal. But the district attorney successfully argued the Cosby, 81, is a danger to society and is likely to repeat the offense.
Lili Bernard, an actress who is among the more than five dozen women who accused Cosby of sexual harassment and assault, said the sentencing was a “hallelujah moment” despite her “mixed emotions” over the shortness of the prison time.
Cosby could be spending the remainder of his life in prison.
“This is a momentous decision in the me-too era,” Bernard told CNN. “It’s incredibly important. I do have mixed emotions.
“On the one hand, I feel absolutely elated that justice was served,” she continued. “On the other hand, I also feel disappointed because clearly, the three-year minimum sentence does not adequately reflect the havoc this man, this rapist, has inflicted on so many women including myself.”
Constand, 45, said she is still living with the impact of her traumatic experience in Cosby’s home 15 years ago.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote a five-page statement. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”
In closing, Constand said, “(W) e may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.”
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby was able to hide behind his clean-cut “The Cosby Show” character, Dr. Cliff Huxtable in order to disarm his many victims.
“It was a seminal character on TV, and so was the family, but it was fiction,” Steele said at the press conference after the sentencing was announced on live television.
“Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs and began paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that’s who he was … He used his acting skills that endearing TV personal to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them.”
Steele added that the “true” Cosby has been bared before the nation as a sexual pervert to violated scores of women and scarred them for life.
“Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked, and we saw the real man as he is headed off to prison,” he said.