Bill Cosby, stand-up comedian, actor musician, and author, has been denying accusations of sexual assault for years especially with the rise of the #MeToo Movement. The man who embodied American fatherhood was recently sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting multiple women inside of his own home. The end of the trial marked Cosby’s devastating fall from beloved pop culture figure to an 81-year-old convicted sex offender.
In April, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee whom he mentored. The guilty verdict marked the very first high-profile conviction since the movement began and a harmonious victory for all of Cosby’s past accusers. It also shed a much-needed light on all women’s abuse stories, especially in Hollywood.
Ms. Constand described her experience and wrote that following the assault,
“life as I knew it came to an abrupt halt. I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with 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. 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.”
Publicist Andrew Cosby attempted to spin the outcome of the trial as a miscarriage of justice calling it the most racist and sexist trial in United States history. He also claimed this trial in particular would contribute to the “ongoing sex war” referencing Brett Kavanaugh implying that his fate would be similar. Of course, Cosby’s publicist is his employee and it is his job to defend the actor hence these ridiculous claims. In actuality, Bill Cosby is a sexual predator and his race nor his gender have anything to do with the verdict.
Ms. Constand first told police about the incident in 2004. She was told by prosecutors that insufficient evidence prevented any charges from being filed and instead the lawsuit ended with a $3.4 million settlement. Ten years later, prosecutors reopened the case due to public interest and more women alleging they were assaulted by Cosby. His defense team argued that he and Constand had a consensual relationship and that the drug he gave her was Benadryl to make her feel less tense. In 2017, after 6 days of deliberation, his trial ended with a hung jury and Cosby was acquitted. In the second trial, the same judge allowed five additional women to testify on their own graphic and relevant experience. At the second trial in April, the jury came back in two days and found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Since Judge O’Neill merged the three counts into one, the sentencing guidelines state that Cosby will be eligible for parole after serving three years and a maximum of ten in state prison. Cosby’s lawyer was outraged and argued that his client should be sentenced to house arrest due to his age and legally blindness and the fact that there have been no new allegations since 2004. Judge O’Neill chose to disregarded this request due to the severity of Cosby’s crime. While some victims were disappointed with the short prison sentence, others were grateful since their incidents are beyond the statute of limitations. One victim, Janice Dickinson, was filled with content leaving the courtroom stating, “my heart is beating out of my chest at the moment. This is fair and just, I am victorious”.
Bill Cosby’s trial represents more than a predator paying for his crimes—it represents the double standard that exists in Hollywood and the law unbiasedly serving all. In colloquial terms, the outcome of this trial has leveled the playing field. Several brave women made a choice to confront their abuser despite his nationwide admiration and their experiences being in the public eye. Thanks to them, not only is another predator behind bars, but an example has been set that one’s power and status does not mean that he is above the law.