For Bill Cosby and chief accuser, a day of reckoning arrives

Bill Cosby departs after a sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday Sept. 24 2018 in Norristown Pa. Cosby's chief accuser on Monday asked for

Cosby left the suburban Philadelphia courthouse in a dark SUV after a judge sentenced the 81-year-old to three to 10 years in state prison for sexual assault. He is the first celebrity to be convicted since the emergence past year of the #MeToo movement, the national reckoning with sexual misconduct that has ended the careers of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.

Convicted five months ago of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former university basketball administrator, he showed no reaction when Judge Steven O'Neill handed down the sentence in a court in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Cosby was convicted after the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

The former head of women's basketball operations at Cosby's alma mater Temple University, Constand said she considered Cosby a mentor and father figure the night he offered her three unidentified blue pills he referred to as "your friends" during a meeting to discuss her career.

When the ruling came down, a woman in courtroom shot her fist into the air and whispered, "Yessss!"

Cosby's lawyers asked for house arrest rather than prison time, arguing that incarceration would be overly punitive given his age and physical condition. The judge allowed prosecutors to call five other accusers as witnesses in Cosby's second trial over the objections of his defence team, bolstering Constand's account.

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Cosby must spend at least three years in a Pennsylvania prison before he becomes eligible for supervised release, though he could end up behind bars for up to a decade.

In an early example of the "Me Too" phenomenon, Cosby faced accusations from 60 women who accused him of sexual misconduct, abuse, and assault. She reported the assault to police in 2005 but the district attorney at the time did not press charges, so she brought a civil suit against the actor. Cosby did not testify at either of his two trials. A judge must decide whether to classify Cosby as a "sexually violent predator", which would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification. He says the comedian's lawyers wouldn't let him discuss certain matters, including the sexual assault that led to his conviction or his admission that he gave quaaludes to women before sex.

The disgraced Cosby Show star arrived at court on Tuesday morning with a smile on his face as he walked in alongside his legal team and handlers.

Constand described how the attack had turned her into a woman who was "stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward".

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