By Ellen McGirt
Updated: September 25, 2018 3:42 PM ET

“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”

These were the words from Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill, passing judgment on America’s Dad.

Eighty-one-year-old William Henry Cosby, Sr. was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constandt in 2004. Constandt was working as the director of operations at Temple University’s women’s basketball team when she met the famous alumnae. She alleged that he drugged and molested her during a meeting in his home. The judge quoted from her testimony that Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

It has been a mind-numbing fall from grace for the former star, a now convicted predator who had long been hiding in plain sight. I imagine that it is a bittersweet moment for his dozens of other alleged victims.

He will now become the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

While beloved by mainstream audiences, black ones long held an ambivalent view of the comedian. The Los Angeles Times’s Greg Braxton broke down the binary during Cosby’s first trial, in June, 2017.

During the latter stages of his five-decades-long career, the entertainer has had a love-hate relationship with black America, where he is regarded as:

(a) A beloved, heroic figure who broke down several barriers as an artist, educator, philanthropist and creator of “The Cosby Show,” which revolutionized television with its portrait of an affluent, educated black family.

And/or:

(b) An outspoken scold who chastised poorer blacks on issues ranging from bad grammar to the squandering of opportunities provided by the civil rights movement.

If you’re curious, I was mostly Team B.

But either way, the news still has the power to shock. Justice delayed became justice delivered, a hopeful sign for a society that has yet to fully wrestle with the contours of predatory behavior from powerful men. With many trials yet to come, a little hope can come in handy.

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