Published 5:52 PM EDT Sep 25, 2018
During the second day of Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge Steven O'Neill ruled that the convicted comedian meets the criteria of a "sexually violent predator" based on the nature of his indecent sexual assault conviction in April and his past behavior.
But what does that mean and how will that classification impact the rest of Cosby's life? USA TODAY explains.
What is a sexually violent predator?
O'Neill agreed with the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board's assessment that Cosby demonstrated a number of the traits of a sexually violent predator, which state law defines as "a person convicted of one or more of a sexually violent offenses specified in the law and who has a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses."
What is the difference between a sexually violent predator and a sex offender?
It varies by state but generally speaking, sexually violent offenders have typically committed sexual battery upon a minor or incapacitated person.
How did they decide Cosby qualifies?
The criteria include whether or not there were multiple victims or a prior history, the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the victim, the nature of their sexual contact and whether the defendant went to unnecessary lengths to commit the offense.
Cosby's accuser, Andrea Constand, testified that she was visiting Cosby's home in 2004 as a representative of Temple University's athletic department when he drugged her and sexually assaulted her.
Board member Dr. Kristen Dudley, who evaluated Cosby based on police reports and trial transcripts after Cosby declined to be interviewed, testified Monday that the comedian initiated and maintained a friendship with Constand in order to "take advantage of her," bribing her with drugs and alcohol until she was rendered unconscious and sedated.
This represented the pattern, Dudley testified, of Cosby often befriending women, then betraying their trust and violating them for the "sole purpose of his sexual gratification."
How will Cosby's new status affect him going forward?
For one, it requires him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Under the regulations of Pennsylvania's Megan's Law, he must notify the 25 closest homes and businesses of his status and prove his compliance via quarterly check-ins with the state police. He would also have to undergo sex-offender counseling with an approved provider at least once per month.
When does he have to begin registering and counseling?
If Cosby receives prison time, he must begin complying upon release.
However, Dade noted that if O'Neill decides on house arrest or a suspended sentence, those requirements kick in immediately.
More: Bill Cosby sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison, remanded to custody immediately
Related: Bill Cosby joins a score of stars who went to prison, on various charges
How many convicts are classified as sexually violent offenders?
In a July interview with USA TODAY, Pennsylvania assessment board director Meghan Dade estimated that her team finds approximately 25 percent of defendants submitted for assessment qualify as sexually violent offenders, adding: "Judges agree at least 75 percent of the time."
More: A complete list of the 60 Bill Cosby accusers
Previously: 'The Cosby Show': Where are they now?