District Attorney’s Office seeks sexual predator hearing for Bill Cosby.
NORRISTOWN » Entertainer Bill Cosby could be forced to undergo sexual offender treatment and having the community in which he lives notified of his address if a judge agrees with a state board that he is a sexually violent predator.
Cosby, 81, awaiting a September sentencing date on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004, should be classified as a sexually violent predator, according to the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which evaluated Cosby after the actor was convicted in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The evaluation by the state board was required by current law.
With the state board’s opinion in hand, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, on July 24, filed court papers asking Judge Steven T. O’Neill to hold a hearing to make the final determination as to whether Cosby meets criteria under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act to be classified as a sexually violent predator.
Those classified as predators, under current law, could face more stringent restrictions upon parole, including mandatory treatment or counseling and community notification about their living arrangements.
However, various aspects of the law are currently being challenged in state courts.
But regardless the predator determination, Cosby, as a result of his conviction of the felony sex assault charges, faces a lifetime requirement to report his address to state police.
O’Neill, who presided over Cosby’s jury trial, has not yet set a date for the sexually violent predator hearing. However, that hearing likely would have to come before Cosby’s sentencing hearing, which previously was scheduled for Sept. 24 and 25.
During a sexually violent predator hearing, prosecutors typically rely on a member of the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to explain the board’s findings that due to a mental abnormality or personality disorder a particular offender is likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses in the future.
Offenders also can offer opposing testimony from mental health experts that the offender does not meet requirements under the law to be classified as a predator.
The presiding judge then makes a final determination. Such hearings typically take several hours.
“We will see them in court,” Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Cosby, said on July 24 when asked to comment about Steele’s latest court filing.
On April 26, a jury convicted Cosby of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, after plying her with “three blue pills,” at his Cheltenham mansion in January 2004.
With the verdict, the Montgomery County jury found that Cosby sexually assaulted Constand while she was unconscious and without her consent.
It was the second trial for Cosby. Cosby’s first trial in June 2017 ended in a mistrial when a jury selected from Allegheny County couldn’t reach a verdict.
Cosby faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison on the charges. However, state sentencing guidelines could allow for a lesser sentence.
O’Neill has allowed Cosby to remain free on bail, 10 percent of $1 million, while awaiting sentencing. The judge said the entertainer must wear an electronic monitoring device while he remains free. Cosby cannot leave the state without approval of the judge.
Cosby’s sentencing hearing is expected to be the most-watched sentencing hearing ever in a county courtroom. The sentencing hearing is expected to attract worldwide media attention.
During the 14-day retrial, Steele and co-prosecutors Kristen Feden and M. Stewart Ryan described Cosby as a trusted mentor who betrayed the friendship he had with Constand and said the criminal case was “about trust…about betrayal.” Prosecutors alleged Cosby plied Constand with “three blue pills” and proceeded to sexually assault her while she visited his home to discuss her career.
Prosecutors argued Constand did not have the ability to consent to sexual contact.
Constand, 45, of Ontario, Canada, testifying 7 ½ hours over two days, said after taking the blue pills she began slurring her words and was unable to fight off Cosby’s sexual advances. The former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University claimed Cosby guided her to a couch, where she passed out.
Constand testified she was “jolted” awake to find Cosby touching her breasts, digitally penetrating her and forcing her to touch his penis, all without her consent.
Constand didn’t report the incident to police until January 2005, about a year after it occurred. Constand was 30 and Cosby was in his 60s at the time of the assault.
Cosby, who did not testify during his first trial or at the retrial, maintained the contact he had with Constand was consensual.
During the retrial, Cosby’s lawyers portrayed Constand as greedy and “a pathological liar” who had a financial motive to lie about a sexual assault.
For the first time publicly, it was revealed during the retrial that Cosby entered into a $3,380,000 civil settlement with Constand in October 2006. Judge O’Neill ruled that evidence of the civil settlement between Cosby and Constand was admissible evidence at the criminal trial.
The trial represented the first time Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, had been charged with a crime despite allegations from dozens of women who claimed they were assaulted by the entertainer.
The charges were lodged against Cosby on Dec. 30, 2015, before the 12-year statute of limitations to file charges expired.