Judge deems Cosby 'sexually violent predator' at sentencing hearing


NORRISTOWN, Pa., Sept 25 (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby was declared a "sexually violent predator" under Pennsylvania law on Tuesday at the sentencing hearing for his sexual assault conviction.

The designation came as Cosby, 81, awaited the possibility of a prison sentence for the drugging and sexual assault of his one-time friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, in 2004.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill said he would hand down the entertainer's sentence on Tuesday afternoon.

His decision to designate Cosby a predator means the once-beloved star known as "America's Dad" will have to undergo monthly counseling and register as a sex offender with police for the rest of his life. Neighbors and schools will be notified of his address and crimes.

Prosecutors have asked that Cosby, who was found guilty in April, be sentenced to the maximum sentence of between five and 10 years in prison. He is the first celebrity to be convicted since the emergence last year of the #MeToo movement, the national reckoning with sexual misconduct that has ended the careers of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.

Cosby cemented his family-friendly reputation playing the mischievous but lovable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show."

That has since been eclipsed by his conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former administrator at his alma mater Temple University, in his Philadelphia-area home in 2004. More than 50 other women also have accused him of sexual abuse going back decades, with most too old to prosecute. The Constand case is the only allegation that has resulted in a conviction. (Reporting by David DeKok Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Joseph Ax and Tom Brown)