Cosby is ‘sexually violent predator’: Pennsylvania panel

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(Reuters) – A Pennsylvania state advisory board recommended that Bill Cosby be deemed a “sexually violent predator,” requiring that the convicted comedian undergo counseling as well as register as a sex offender for life, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Actor and comedian Bill Cosby exits Montgomery County Courthouse after a jury convicted him in a sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The 81-year-old entertainer, known as “America’s Dad” for his role in the 1980s TV hit “The Cosby Show,” was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a former friend at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

The victim, Andrea Constand, was one of dozens of women who have accused the comedian of a string of sexual assaults dating back decades. Hers was the only accusation recent enough to be criminally prosecuted.

In a court filing on Tuesday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to schedule a hearing to determine whether to accept the recommendation of the state’s sexual offender assessment board.

Cosby, who is allowed to leave his home only to visit doctors or lawyers ahead of his September sentencing, will have the right to challenge the recommendation.

“We will see you in court,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in an email.

FILE PHOTO: Bill Cosby reacts while being notified a verdict is in, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in his sexual assault retrial, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. Mark Makela/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

Cosby is the highest-profile celebrity convicted of sexual assault since the start of the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women publicly accuse powerful men of sexual misconduct that was often broadly overlooked by colleagues.

Under Pennsylvania state law, a sexually violent predator is someone convicted of a sexually violent offense “who has a mental abnormality or personality disorder the makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.”

Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Assessment Board recommends that an individual be deemed a sexually violent predator in just 20 percent of the cases it investigates, the board’s head, Meghan Dade, said in a May interview. Judges have upheld its recommendations at least 70 percent of the time, she said.

Sexually violent predators must register for life with Pennsylvania police and attend sex offender counseling at least once a month for life.

Law enforcement officials are required to provide neighbors, local day care centers and schools with the name, address and photograph of all offenders in the area.

State law requires police to deliver a flier featuring the name, mug shot and description of the crimes of a sexually violent predator to the offender’s 25 closest neighbors.

(This version of the story corrects typographical error in first sentence)

Reporting by Joseph Ax, Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum

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