What is a sexually violent predator?

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A Pennsylvania judge has designated Bill Cosby a “sexually violent predator” as part of his sentence for aggravated indecent assault. What does that mean for Cosby, exactly?

The label will not affect the length of a potential prison sentence. It means he faces stricter penalties in addition to registering as a sex offender. It has implications for his treatment plan and the terms of his release.

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

Anyone classified as a sexually violent predator in Pennsylvania is subject to the following:

– Lifetime registration on the state’s sex offender registry;

– Mandatory lifetime sex offender counseling at least once a month;

– Community notification: Law enforcement must notify the community — neighbors, county children and youth agencies, local day care centers, school districts and institutions of higher education — that the person is a sexually violent offender and provide his address, offense and photograph.

Judge Steven O’Neill made the determination Tuesday after hearing expert testimony and arguments from the state and Cosby’s lawyers.

The Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which reviewed Cosby’s case, recommended that he be labeled a sexually violent predator.

A member of the board said Cosby has a mental disorder that involves urges toward nonconsenting women.

“The behaviors are beyond their controls, so they are urged to act on it. He is likely to reoffend,” psychologist Kristen testified in court.

Cosby’s lawyers said his age, 81, and blindness made it unlikely that he would reoffend.

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