Attorney Gloria Allred, left, comforts Chelan Lasha as she speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Norristown Pa., after Bill Cosby was sentenced to three-to 10-years for sexual assault. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Bill Cosby, now inmate NN7687, placed in single cell

He will serve his sentence at a state prison near Phoenix, near the home where a jury concluded he drugged and molested a woman in 2004

Bill Cosby spent his first night in prison alone, in a single cell near the infirmary, as he began his three-to-10-year sentence for sexual assault.

Corrections officials announced Wednesday that Cosby — now known as Inmate No. NN7687 — will serve his sentence at SCI Phoenix, a new state prison about 20 miles from the gated estate where a jury concluded he drugged and molested a woman in 2004. The $400 million lockup opened two months ago and can hold 3,830 inmates.

Cosby will meet with prison medical staff, psychologists and others as the staff assesses his needs. Under prison policy, the 81-year-old comedian will be allowed phone calls and visits and will get a chance to exercise.

The prison’s long-term goal is to place Cosby in the general population, officials said.

“We are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure Mr. Cosby’s safety and general welfare in our institution,” Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said in a statement.

As Cosby began adjusting to life behind bars, his family and publicists vowed he’ll appeal his conviction on three felony sexual assault counts after the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Calling Cosby “one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the United States for over the past 50 years,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt on Tuesday decried the trial as the “most sexist and racist” in the country’s history.

The judge, prosecutor and jury saw it differently.

“No one is above the law. And no one should be treated disproportionately because of who they are, where they live, or even their wealth, celebrity or philanthropy,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said in sentencing Cosby to an above-average sentence.

Cosby’s defence team has raised the racial issue before, in 2016, before quickly scrapping it.

“We prosecute where the evidence takes us and that was done in this case,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said Tuesday.

After his first trial ended in a hung jury, Cosby was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting Temple University women’s basketball administrator Andrea Constand. He has faced a barrage of similar accusations from more than 60 women over the past five decades, but Constand’s case is the only one that went to trial.

In a statement submitted to the court, Constand, 45, said the assault and Cosby’s subsequent attacks on her character had crushed her spirit, adding: “We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator, but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.”

Prosecutor Kristen Feden said Constand told her she was happy with the sentence.

“I always look for my strength in the victims, and Andrea Constand was amazing,” Feden said on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday. “Her courage and her strength was enough for me to say, ‘Let’s keep going.’”

Women’s advocates hailed Cosby’s sentence as a landmark #MeToo moment.

“Bill Cosby seeing the inside of a prison cell sends a strong message that predators — no matter who they are, from Hollywood to Wall Street to the Supreme Court — can no longer be protected at the expense of victims,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York.

Cosby’s lawyers asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction, but the judge ordered him locked up immediately, saying that “he could quite possibly be a danger to the community.”

Cosby — who is legally blind and uses a cane — removed his watch, tie and jacket and walked out in a white dress shirt and red suspenders, his hands cuffed in front of him.

Cosby must serve the minimum of three years before becoming eligible for parole.

Cosby’s punishment, which also included a $25,000 fine, came at the end of a two-day hearing at which the judge declared him a “sexually violent predator” — a designation that subjects him to monthly counselling for the rest of his life and requires that neighbours and schools be notified of his whereabouts. A psychologist for the state testified that Cosby appears to have a mental disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to have sex with women without their consent.

Constand testified that Cosby gave her what she thought were herbal pills to ease stress, then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized on a couch. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, and his lawyers branded her a “con artist” who framed the comedian to get a big payday — a $3.4 million settlement she received over a decade ago.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, which Constand and other accusers have done.

Five other accusers took the stand at the trial as part of an effort by prosecutors to portray Cosby — once known as America’s Dad for his role on the top-rated “Cosby Show” in the 1980s — as a serial predator.

Constand went to police a year after waking up in a fog at Cosby’s estate, her clothes askew, only to have the district attorney pass on the case. Another DA reopened the file a decade later and charged the TV star after stand-up comic Hannibal Buress’ riff about Cosby’s being a rapist prompted other women to come forward, and after a federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed some of Cosby’s startling, decade-old testimony in Constand’s related civil suit.

In his testimony, Cosby described sexual encounters with a string of actresses, models and other young women and talked about obtaining quaaludes to give to those he wanted to sleep with.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lacombe’s Chairs for Charity is back for second year

75 chairs to be auctioned off in hopes of raising $10,000

Community mourns the deaths of two Maskwacis toddlers

Siblings found drowned on family’s property

Highlights of the Lacombe County council meeting – July 11, 2019

Next Regular Council Meeting is Thursday August 8

Lacombe Police investigate hit and run

LPS discover abandoned Mercedes SUV with front-end damage

Paws and Claws helps animals at Lacombe ATB

Adoption event helps find forever homes for rescue dogs, cats

WATCH: Lacombe AUPE members picket against Bill 9

Union members say their constitutional rights have been ignored

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate indecent act at By The Lake Park

Complaint said man exposed himself in Wetaskiwin

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate attempted armed robbery

Police seek information about alleged attack and identify suspect

Scrapie, a disease related to mad cow, found in two flocks of sheep in Alberta

Health Canada says there is no known link between scrapie and human health

Alberta oil and gas producer cleanup cost estimates set too low, says coalition

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. facing the largest bill at $11.9 billion to clean up 73,000 wells

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Most Read