Opinion

Renée Graham

Bill Cosby got what he deserved

Bill Cosby arrived at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday.
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
Bill Cosby arrived at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday.

As in his two courtroom trials, Bill Cosby declined to take the stand before he was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for aggravated indecent assault. It’s just as well. No one needs to hear this cruel, terrible man or any self-serving lie he would inevitably tell again.

Even at the height of his popularity, Cosby was never “America’s dad.” He was always what Judge Steven T. O’Neill of Montgomery County, Pa., designated him on Tuesday: “a sexually violent predator.” Of course, the scores of women he drugged and raped for decades already knew that. Known and unknown, they’ve finally been heard.

Given Cosby’s age, his attorneys asked for leniency for their client — house arrest as opposed to incarceration. Yes, he is now a legally blind, 81-year-old man in frail health. That does not negate the fact that he spent most of his years as a serial rapist who incapacitated and sexually assaulted dozens of women.

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He did this when he was making history on “I Spy.” He did this when he was selling out comedy performances and appearing as a favorite guest on talk shows. It happened when he was writing bestselling books, accepting honorary degrees, and surrounding himself with kids in commercials. He objectified and used women when he was starring in “The Cosby Show.”

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In plain sight, Cosby was a monster. And his victims, who were silenced and ignored, weren’t the only ones who knew it. The public count of victims stopped around 60; we’ll never know how many others chose to remain silent or died before they could see justice delivered to their rapist.

Cosby used his fame and avuncular public image as a weapon to harm women like Andrea Constand, whose case led to Cosby’s conviction. He has shown no remorse, and likely still denies he did anything wrong. Like most criminals, he is attuned only to his own victimization.

A convicted sex offender, Cosby was handcufffed and perp-walked through a courthouse hallway. He did not deserve mercy. And if Cosby lives to serve every minute of his time behind bars, it’s still less than the life sentence his crimes inflicted on his victims.

Renée Graham can be reached at renee.graham@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.