Don’t feel sorry for Bill Cosby, who was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison Tuesday for aggravated indecent assault.
Perhaps it seems cruel to incarcerate a doddering, nearly blind octogenarian, but the actor and comedian is a sexual predator. Now, finally, he will be treated as one.
That includes classification as a sex offender. Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual assault going back four decades, but many of the incidents are long past the statute of limitations and could not be prosecuted. Cosby will be listed on a sex offender registry and will be required to report regularly to authorities and undergo monthly counseling for the rest of his life.
The sentencing and Cosby’s designation as a predator send a powerful message to the #MeToo movement just as his conviction did back in April. For too long, powerful men have escaped accountability for sexual misconduct involving less powerful women, ranging from inappropriate comments at work to rape. The jury’s decision seemed a clear signal that the public’s tolerance of such behavior was, at long last, waning.
If Cosby’s attorneys are to be believed, the 81-year-old actor is barely capable of getting around, let alone drugging and molesting women. He no longer poses a threat to the community, they say. Maybe it is true - or maybe it isn’t.
In either case, it’s irrelevant.
Cosby committed a crime and his punishment reflects its gravity. And besides, the greater threat to the community comes from a sentencing that telegraphs to all the other would-be sexual predators that society doesn’t consider this crime a jail-able offense.