Pennsylvania board: Bill Cosby a sexually violent predator
Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board found that Bill Cosby is a sexually violent predator and should be classified as such, according to a court filing in his sexual assault case.
Still, the ultimate decision on Cosby’s status will be up to Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill at an upcoming hearing, according to Kate Delano, public information officer for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office.
In April, Cosby, who turned 81 this month, was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. Cosby’s defense counsel said afterward that the comedian planned to appeal the case.
He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, although legal experts said he is likely to spend much less time, if any, behind bars.
The Sexual Offenders Assessment Board is responsible for conducting assessments of convicted sex offenders to help courts determine whether they meet the legal criteria to be classified as a sexually violent predator, according to the board’s website. The distinction would mean that Cosby is subject to lifetime registration with state police, lifetime sex offender counseling and community notification.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele filed a motion Tuesday requesting a hearing to determine whether Cosby is a sexually violent predator after receiving the board’s assessment.
In response, Cosby’s attorneys said in a new court filing that the process used by the board is unconstitutional, and they rejected the assessment.
The defense argued that the single board member who did the assessment did not conduct a hearing and considered largely “irrelevant and improper information.”
“Confrontation and cross-examination” was not a part of the process, they said, basing their argument a 2017 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case.
“The true facts establish that this defendant is not a sexually violent predator,” they said.
Additionally, the defense asked the judge to declare as unconstitutional a recent state law that updates registration by sex offenders.
The hearing on Cosby’s sexually violent predator status will take place before his criminal sentencing, according to Delano. Sentencing is currently scheduled for September 24.
At the status hearing, the prosecution and the defense will call expert witnesses to make their arguments, and then the judge will issue his ruling, Delano said.
The determination does not affect Cosby’s potential sentence for the assault charges. Since Cosby was convicted of aggravated indecent assault, he is already required to register under Megan’s Law.
The sexually violent predator report was sent to the prosecution, and it shared the report with the defense, but it has not been made public.