Bill Cosby has risen to be one of the most familiar names in American households. His actions have earned him the titles of actor, author, stand-up comedian, musician and as of Tuesday, September 25, convicted sex offender.
“I think he got the proper sentence,” said junior Juwan Houston. “He was accused of more, but we don’t know if all that is true. For the one case he got convicted of, I think he got the right time in jail.”
The 81-year-old spent the first day of his sentence in a Pennsylvania prison in the small town of Schwenksville. Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a former employee at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, in January 2004, according to the victim’s testimony.
It was not until a year later in 2005 that the case went to court. The district attorney on the case did not charge Cosby, citing that the two parties had maintained communication throughout the period in between the alleged incident and the time of the trial.
Cosby was the face of several pinnacles of American television, including “Fat Albert” and “The Cosby Show,” where his performances earned him several Golden Globes along with three Emmy awards for his role as Alexander Scott in “I Spy.” Cosby also garnered seven Grammy awards for his work as a comedian.
“It is sad to see because Cosby gave us something to believe in,” said junior Maya Walfall. “His show was one of few shows out depicting middle-class, suburban African American life.”
The entertainment icon was also included in author Molefi Kete Asante’s 2002 book, “The 100 Greatest African-Americans.” Since 1985, Cosby had received 70 honorary degrees, however most have been revoked following the sexual assault allegations that broke out in 2015.
Talks about Cosby’s sexual assault history began to circulate following a viral video of comedian Hannibal Buress calling Cosby as a “rapist” during an October 2014 stand-up comedy event. In August 2015, authorities from Montgomery County, where his first case in 2005 took place, reopened the criminal case. Aggravated sexual assault has a 12-year statute of limitations, thus they were able to investigate Cosby’s case.
Dozens of women have came out, especially during the #MeToo movement that arose during the fall of 2017 following the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Cosby was convicted in April 2018 for three counts of aggravated indecent assualt and sentenced to three to 10 years, where he was also ruled a “sexually violent predator.”
Some students at Guilford believe that Cosby’s sentence was not long enough.
“What he did was completely wrong,” said sophomore Dayna Bryden. “I think he deserved life.”
Others felt that the prison system cannot help him.
“I have a negative view on jail in general,” said junior Maya Walfall. “Never are prisons used to lift people up, just to hold them away from society. They are never constructive. I do not feel that Cosby will come out as a better person for being in jail. It was all a money-ploy. He is staying in an isolated space in a $400 million facility.”