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He quoted from victim Andrea Constand's statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her "beautiful, young spirit and crushed it".

O'Neill ordered Cosby to serve in "total confinement" for "no less than three years and no more than 10 years". "The day has come". The time has come.

Sixty women have accused Cosby, 81, of rape and sexual assault over a span of time ranging from 1965 to 2008.

Constand and dozens of other accusers looked on in the Montgomery County court house as Judge O'Neill read out the sentence on Tuesday.

In what is likely last time the public will be seeing Bill Cosby for at least another three years, the disgraced comedian's exit from the courthouse was a less than graceful one.

Cosby has been denied bail, and taken into custody.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said Tuesday after the comedian's sentencing that Cosby was "one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the United States for over the past 50 years", while decrying the trial as the "most sexist and racist" in the country's history.

Cosby faced a sentence of anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison.

Cosby's defense said earlier they plan to appeal his conviction.

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Being now ruled as a sexually violent predator, Bill Cosby name will now appear in sex-offender registry which will be further circulated to schools, victims and in textbooks. He said to Cosby, "As she [Constand] said, Mr. Cosby, you took her lovely, healthy young spirit and crushed it".

Cosby was convicted on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, and administrator at Temple University.

During his sentencing, Cosby's legal team argued that his age and blindness should be taken into account, and tried to whittle his sentence down from years of jail time to house arrest. I got her skin and it's just above the hand and it's just above where you can go under the trousers.

"Nobody is above the law", Steele said.

Cosby did not testify at the trial and has spoken publicly only infrequently since his criminal trial began. He will now have to have counseling every month for the rest of his life, and report to authorities every quarter. They had also asked the judge to levy a $US25,000 ($35,000) fine on Cosby and make him pay court costs. "He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others", Constand wrote in her victim impact statement. - Lili Bernard, who said Cosby sexually assaulted her before giving her a one-time role on "The Cosby Show" in 1992.

"If she hadn't been able to stand in court, we wouldn't be standing here today", Welles said.

She said she lived alone with her two dogs and had trouble trusting people.

The comedian's sentence was actually dropped from 30 years to 10 years.

It's nearly impossible to overstate what a giant Bill Cosby was in the entertainment field, from his early and legendary stand-up routines through his groundbreaking role in the TV show "I Spy" through the "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" phenomenon to the enormously popular NBC sitcom "The Cosby Show", which was the No. 1 show in America for much of the 1980s and was lauded for its positive depiction of an upper-middle-class African-American family.