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A judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that Bill Cosby will be sentenced to three to ten years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Canadian former basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby will also pay a $25,000 fine, as well as the cost of the prosecution and be registered as a “sexually violent predator.” That official status requires life-long registration, life-long sex offender counselling, and that any community in which he lives be notified of his designation.

Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in an April retrial, after the original case brought against him in June 2017 ended in a mistrial. Sentencing began Monday morning with the prosecution calling for Cosby to serve five to ten years, arguing that he has shown “no remorse” for his crimes and is still capable of re-offending. The defence asked that the 81-year-old comedian be sentenced to time in a rehabilitation facility or house arrest because of his advanced age and the fact that he is blind.

Ahead of the trial, Cosby was potentially looking at 30 years for the three counts on which he was convicted, but 10 years was considered more reasonable as a maximum and the three counts were merged. Despite the lesser time, Kathy McKee, one of more than 60 other women who accused Cosby of sexual assault, told CNN that she believes Cosby was “sentenced accordingly.”

People are lauding the sentence as the first real legal consequence of the Me Too era.

“This was a serious crime,” Judge Steven O’Neill said in his ruling, “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come.

“No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently or disproportionally,” he continued, “I have given great weight to the victim impact testimony in this case, and it was powerful.”

The judge was referring to a five-page letter written by Andrea Constand to the court detailing how the Cosby rape had impacted her life since then. She has previously said in statements that she suffered from depression and anxiety afterwards and had to return to her parents’ house.

“I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me. The pressure was enormous. I knew that how my testimony was perceived that how I was perceived would have an impact on every member of the jury and on the future mental and emotional well-being of every sexual assault victim who came before me,” Constand wrote, “But I had to testify. It was the right thing to do, and I wanted to do
the right thing, even if it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. When the first trial ended in a mistrial, I didn’t hesitate to step up again.”

“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others,” she added. She concluded by thanking everyone who supported her throughout the two trials and in the years since her assault by Cosby.

Judge O’Neill also denied Cosby bail, meaning that the now infamous comedian will go directly to jail. He was escorted out of the courtroom after sentencing in handcuffs.

Andrea Constand was seen smiling as she exited the courthouse and stopped to hug other women on her way out.