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Overnight, Bill Cosby was found guilty. While the man will see prison, his sentence might have to be taken as a small victory for his many alleged victims.
Overnight the hammer finally fell on Bill Cosby, as he was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison, after finally being found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. While Cosby may be eligible for a supervised release in three years, it is highly unlikely that he’ll be given that option.
Why? As part of the ruling, Cosby was labelled a sexually violent predator—the highest-risk classification for sexual offenders in his home state. According to the conditions this status grants him, per Quartz, he must remain on the sex offenders’ registry, undergo regular counselling, and notify any community he lives in of his sex offender status.
I don’t want to editorialise here, but it’s fair to say that Cosby’s advanced age and status makes the above fairly limp. If he makes it out of prison, which, at 81 years old, seems unlikely, it’s fair to assume that a vast changing of his ways won’t be on the cards. More to that point, the community will know who, and exactly where he is. I don’t want to be too grim before breakfast, but is expiring in a prison cell while his brain turns into mush feel like a fair punishment? I’m not defending Cosby, but you can assume that he’ll quietly go down with the ship. He won’t offer an apology or repent. The fact that he chose to remain quiet when the judge allowed him to speak, says many a thing.
“You claimed her silence was consent. That is not the law,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill said, “No one is above the law and no one should be treated differently or disproportionately based on where they live or who they are.” According to the New York Times, this fits as Cosby’s sentence matches the ruling of similar crimes in Pennsylvanian courts.
Despite the fact that Cosby will spent tonight in jail, his sentence reflections a fraction of the time that Cosby has allegedly abused women. According to some sources, the figure stands at least 50 years. During the rise of #MeToo, 60 women have come forward to tell their story, often including allegations of Cosby drugging and assaulting them.
While Cosby might live through his sentence, the likelihood of his victims, proven or unproven feeling the proper vindication is sadly slim to none. However, he does serve as a rather towering metaphor. Not in that the gavel fell, but rather how long it took to get there. Cosby serves as a searing example of why his victims didn’t report it at the time, as it took 14 years for them to be heard.