NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers are challenging the legality of the process under which a Pennsylvania board recommended he be classified as a sexually violent predator.
They also claimed in a court filing last week that the state’s recently revised sex offender registry law is unconstitutional and should not be applied retroactively.
The 81-year-old Cosby is due to be sentenced Sept. 24 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He was convicted in April of drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia mansion 14 years ago. He plans to appeal.
The Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board recommended last week Cosby be classified as a sexually violent predator, which would require the former TV star to attend at least monthly sex offender counseling — in prison and out — and police to post warning flyers throughout his neighborhood whenever he is freed.
State law defines a sexually violent predator as a person who has “a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.”
The board is made up of psychologists, psychiatrists and criminal justice professionals, and makes its findings based on an investigation which includes a 14-point assessment and an interview if the defendant and their attorney grants one, said Meghan Dade, the board’s executive director. She said she cannot discuss individual cases and could not disclose if Cosby cooperated in the review.
The board recommends that someone be classified as a predator in only about 20 percent to 25 percent of cases that get referred by judges, she said. “To be really clear, we don’t hear back from the court in every case, but in those cases where our board member has made the recommendation… and we hear back, about 75 percent of the time the court agrees,” she said.
A judge must decide whether to accept the finding he is a predator.