Television star and comedian Bill Cosby has been sentenced to serve three to 10 years in state prison, following his guilty conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill made the sentencing, ruling Cosby a “sexually violent predator”.
The saga revolving around Cosby's sexual offenses goes back decades but was not examined by the public eye until stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress brought the allegations to light during a 2014 routine. The resulting examination into the image of this otherwise "clean" and "family-friendly" figure resulted in numerous additional allegations of rape and drug-facilitated sexual assault and battery going all the way to 1968. In the following years, multiple organizations and companies cut ties with Cosby, with reruns of his once-celebrated television shows being taken off the air.
After a mistrial in June 2017, a retrial in April 2018 found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand. Per THR, Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced Cosby to three to 10 years of "total confinement" in state prison, along with a $25,000 fine. The sentencing came from a recommendation from prosecutors, who argued that Cosby was still a danger to women and the community at large. Cosby's lawyers, on the other hand, requested house arrest, citing Cosby's age at 81 and his status as legally blind.
Constand previously had a friendship with Cosby starting in 2002, as athletics administrator in Cosby's alma mater of Temple University, with the incident in question occurring on January 2004. The sentencing is an end for Constand's long legal battle, which reopened in 2015 after dozens of women came forward with their own experiences of Cosby's sexual misconduct. This case is not only significant for being the first one to end with criminal action towards Cosby, but it is also the first prominent celebrity case as part of the new #MeToo movement.
The conviction and sentencing is a sign of relief to Constand and countless other victims of sexual assault. With figures such as Harvey Weinstein still facing criminal charges and undergoing through similar legal hurdles, the Cosby case is forming a precedent for accused persons ultimately receiving justice in a court of law. Still, progress in the era of #MeToo and Time's Up isn't a sure thing, with people like Louis C.K., who had his own accusations of sexual misconduct (which the comedian admitted to), returning to work not too long after their condemnation. While the Cosby sentencing is a large step, the actor still has many accusations to answer for, and sexual misconduct in the workplace still remains an important issue not just for Hollywood, but for all facets of society to deal with.