Sentencing in Bill Cosby’s sex assault case set for Sept. 24

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby reacts while being notified a verdict was in in his sexual assault retrial, Thursday, April, 26, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. A jury convicted the

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby reacts while being notified a verdict was in in his sexual assault retrial, Thursday, April, 26, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. A jury convicted the "Cosby Show" star of three counts of aggravated indecent assault on Thursday. The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the charges. (Mark Makela/Pool Photo via AP)

Bill Cosby will be sentenced Sept. 24, almost five months to the day after he was convicted of sexual assault, a judge said Tuesday.

Lawyers for the comedian, who turns 81 in July and faces the prospect of the rest of his life in prison, had asked Judge Steven O’Neill to delay sentencing until the end of the year.

Cosby’s convictions on three counts of aggravated indecent assault will likely be combined into one charge that carries a standard sentence of five to 10 years in prison.

Cosby’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a message left seeking comment.

The man once revered as America’s Dad has been a prisoner in his suburban Philadelphia mansion since his April 26 conviction and he hasn’t been heard from since lashing out at a prosecutor in court that day.

O’Neill ordered Cosby be outfitted with a GPS monitoring bracelet and said he needed permission to leave the home, where jurors concluded he drugged and molested Andrea Constand in January 2004.

Even then, Cosby can go out only to visit his lawyers or the doctor.

Before sentencing, Cosby must undergo an assessment to determine if he is a sexually violent predator. Because of his conviction, he will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball administrator, is expected to speak at sentencing. O’Neill said in a court order the hearing could take two days.

Constand testified at Cosby’s trial that the comedian knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.

Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, saying he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to relax. His lawyers have vowed to appeal, but that can’t happen until Cosby is sentenced.

In Pennsylvania, defendants are typically sentenced within 90 days of a conviction. O’Neill initially said he would schedule Cosby’s sentencing for July. His court order did not explain why he moved it to September.

Constand’s testimony and that of five other accusers allowed prosecutors to uncloak Cosby — who solidified his reputation as a family man by playing Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” — as a manipulative predator who used his built-in trust to trick women into taking powerful intoxicants so he could violate them.

One woman pointedly called Cosby a “serial rapist,” and another asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

O’Neill has yet to rule on whether he’ll identify the jurors who convicted Cosby, even though the state Supreme Court has long held that juror names should be made public under the First Amendment.

Prosecutors urged O’Neill to consider a “cooling off” before they’re disclosed, citing a 90-day wait in the Casey Anthony case.

A lawyer for The Associated Press and other news media outlets said that was different because jurors were threatened after acquitting the Florida mother in 2011 of charges she killed her young daughter.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, as Constand has done.


Follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.