After Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison Tuesday for sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, some of the dozens of women who have accused him of similar crimes expressed joy and vindication.
Bernard said Cosby’s incarceration would make “the nation a safer place,” and said it represented “a new day in rape culture, a new day in the women’s movement, a new day for feminism.”
Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy Playmate who alleges Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1970, said, “There’s so much emotion going on, I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or dance,” NBC reports.
Recounting the reaction of the other accusers who came to the Montgomery County courthouse for the sentencing, Valentino said, “I think we all stood there and cried.”
Chelan Lasha, who according to The New York Times accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her when she was a model in 1986, said, “I am very happy to know that Mr. Cosby will do time in prison. That he is touchable, like he touched us unwillingly,” CNN reports.
Cosby was convicted in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004 in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion. Constand, now 45, considered Cosby a mentor at the time of the assault.
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According to the terms of the sentence, Cosby will serve a minimum of three years in prison and then become eligible for supervised release, although nothing promises his release at that time, reports Philadelphia public radio station WHYY.
The sentence includes a $25,000 fine and requires Cosby to pay for the cost of his prosecution. The judge denied Cosby’s bail request, so he will be incarcerated immediately.
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Cosby has denied all allegations against him, including those from Constand, and has vowed to appeal his conviction. He did not testify in his own defense at trial and he declined to speak during his sentencing.
In comments after the hearing, Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, claimed Cosby’s sentence followed “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”
Constand’s accusation against Cosby was the only one to result in a criminal charges due to the statute of limitations. CNN reports that attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several accusers, said, “Mr. Cosby has shown no remorse and there has been no justice for many of the accusers who were barred from a court by the arbitrary time limits imposed by the statute of limitations.”
Andrea Constand Happy with Sentence, Says Prosecutor
A prosecutor who helped put Cosby behind bars told NBC’s Today that Constand is pleased her assailant will go to prison.
“I asked her is she happy with the sentence, and she said yes,” Kristen Gibbons Feden told the show.
Feden described Cosby as “a con artist” who used his wholesome persona “as a cloak so that he could lure women.”
Before Cosby was sentenced, Constand provided a lengthy victim impact statement in which she described the trauma of the assault.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”
“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,” Constand wrote.