Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice seeks sex­ual preda­tor hear­ing for Bill Cosby.

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.