Bill Cosby denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programme in prison

Cosby has vehemently proclaimed his innocence, his spokesperson said

US-ENTERTAINMENT-TELEVISION-COSBY-TRIAL Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs after the first day of his retrial for his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania | AFP

Bill Cosby will not be be paroled this year after he refused to participate in sex offender programmes during his nearly three years in state prison in Pennsylvania. Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt called the decision “appalling” and said Cosby “vehemently proclaims his innocence", the AP stated in a report.

Cosby, 83, is currently serving a 3-to-10-year sentence at a prison outside Philadelphia for drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his home in 2004.

The Pennsylvania Parole Board cited Cosby's "failure to develop a parole release plan" and a "negative recommendation by the Department of Corrections" as factors that contributed to the decision. The once-beloved comedian known as “America’s Dad”  was convicted and sentenced in 2018.

Cosby had a hearing before the Pennsylvania supreme court in December on his appeal of his conviction. The court has not yet ruled.

"Mr. Cosby has vehemently proclaimed his innocence and continues to deny all allegations made against him, as being false, without the sheer evidence of any proof. Today, Mr. Cosby continues to remain hopeful that the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court will issue an opinion to vacate his conviction or warrant him a new trial," his spokesperson said in a statement.