‘America’s Dad’ in Jail: The Results of Bill Cosby’s Hearing

Google Common License: Bill Cosby, 81

Google Common License: Bill Cosby, 81

After a two day hearing, famous comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He was declared a “sexually violent predator,” given no bail, and registered as a sex offender.


Fourteen years ago, Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted Constant in his home. Constant reported the assault in 2005, but prosecutors did not press charges, choosing instead to settle in 2006. Cosby maintained that, while he did ply women with drugs and alcohol, every act was consensual.


When dozens more women came forward years later with similar accusations, a new prosecution team took up Constant’s case, as her allegations were the only ones to fall within the statute of limitations. Cosby was arrested in December of 2015.


Cosby’s first trial in June 2017 ended in a mistrial, after the jury failed to reach a verdict after six days. In the retrial, five other women testified against Cosby, sharing their experiences. These women included reality television star Janice Dickinson, who testified that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her three decades ago. “”I didn’t consent to this. Here was ‘America’s Dad,’ on top of me. A married man, father of five kids, on top of me,” Dickinson said. “I was thinking how wrong it was. How very wrong it was” (Dickinson qtd in Schallhorn). Dickinson did not report the assault, as she feared damage to her career. Justice Baker-Kinney, Chelan Lasha, Lise-Lotte Lublin, and Heidi Thomas also testified during the retrial, citing similar experiences. The April mistrial concluded with Cosby being convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Constand.


On Wednesday, September 26th 2018, Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison. He is the first major public figure and celebrity to be sentenced during the #MeToo movement. As a high profile inmate in a Pheonix State Correctional Institution, Cosby will spend his first few weeks mostly alone. On Cosby’s first day in the institution, he spent the night in his cell, in an empty section of the institution. He ate his meals alone. This is due mostly to administrators’ desire to slowly integrate Cosby into the prison’s population. OJ Simpson, another high-profile celebrity and criminal, states that “rapists are frowned upon in prison,” and that it is unlikely that Cosby will have a peaceful transition into the prison community (Simpson qtd in Selk).

Judge Steven O’Neill denied Cosby’s bail and additionally ordered Cosby to pay a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars, plus the costs of prosecution. His sentence doesn’t just end with prison; Cosby will have to attend mandatory counseling sessions for the remainder of his life, and any community he moves to will be notified that a “sexually violent predator” lives in the area.