American comedian and actor Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years in prison for sex crimes. After the sentencing Tuesday, Cosby was taken directly to prison.
In April, a court in Pennsylvania found him guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said during sentencing: "It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”
He also noted victim Andrea Constand's own statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her "beautiful, young spirit and crushed it."
Constand, who is 45, was Temple University’s women's basketball administrator at the time of the assault. The attack took place in Cosby’s home near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Cosby, who is 81, chose not to speak in court before the sentencing. Afterward, he was seen laughing and talking with his defense team. Cosby’s wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court.
Cosby's lawyers asked the judge to permit Cosby to remain free on bail while he appeals the guilty finding against him. The judge appeared shocked by the request and refused. He said Cosby "could quite possibly be a danger to the community."
The court also fined Cosby $25,000.
Former model Janice Dickinson was in court. She is one of about 60 women who have accused Cosby of drugging and violating them over the past 50 years. Dickinson looked at Cosby after the sentence was announced and said: "Here's the last laugh, pal."
Another Cosby accuser in the courtroom, Lili Bernard, said, "Maybe this will send a message to other powerful perpetrators that they will be caught and punished."
The punishment came at the end of a two-day hearing, during which the judge declared Cosby a "sexually violent predator." He will now have to legally register as a sexual offender. The publicly available registry lets neighbors and schools search for sexually violent people in their area.
Cosby also will be required to attend monthly mental health treatment for the rest of his life.
Cosby faced a sentence of anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison. His lawyers asked for house arrest. They argued that Cosby — who is legally blind — is too old and weak to do time in prison.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele rejected the call for a softer punishment.
Steele said, "He was good at hiding this for a long time -- good at suppressing this for a long time...So it's taken a long time to get there."
In a statement given to the court and released Tuesday, Constand, 45, said that she has struggled for years with anxiety and self-doubt. She said she now lives alone with her two dogs and has trouble trusting people.
In the statement, she described herself before the assault as a young, strong woman looking forward to a future with bright possibilities.
"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."
Cosby broke barriers in the 1960s as the first black actor to star in a network show. He went on to become hugely famous as the wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." The television program was one of the most-watched in America during its run from 1984 to 1992.
Cosby's estimated worth was more than $400 million at one point.
However, his career collapsed as the accusations against him increased.
I’m Caty Weaver.
And I’m Ashley Thompson.
The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
bail -n. an amount of money given to a court to permit a prisoner to leave jail and return later for a trial
pal -n. friend
perpetrator -n. someone who does something that is illegal or wrong
predator -n. a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way
probation -n. law: a situation or period of time in which a person who has committed a crime is allowed to stay out of prison if that person behaves well, does not commit another crime, etc
anxiety -n. fear or nervousness about what might happen
doubt -n. to have no confidence in (someone or something)
pattern -n. the usual and repeated way in which something happens or is done
reign -n. the period of time during which someone or something is the best or the most important, powerful, etc.