Bill Cosby jailed for 3-10 years for 2004 sexual assault

US comedian Bill Cosby, above, was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison on Tuesday for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his Philadelphia home 14 years ago.

Cosby was also ordered to pay $25,000 in fines and court costs, undergo counselling and register as a sex offender.

The sentencing of the 81-year-old star, once called ‘America’s dad” and now declared by Judge Steven O’Neill as a “sexually violent predator”, is seen as a milestone in #MeToo movement.

Cosby was detained immediately after the sentencing and led out of the courtroom in handcuffs by police officers to jail.

His lawyers, who had sought house arrest for him considering his advanced age and blindness, said they will appeal the conviction. This could take the case up to the state’s highest court and drag it for several years.

In his ruling, judge O’Neill said no one is above the law and no one should be treated differently because of where they live, who they are, or because of their wealth or fame.

Quoting from the court statement of the rape survivor, the judge said Cosby had taken her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

Cosby showed no emotion as the judge handed down the sentence.

Prosecutor Kevin Steele said Cosby has been unmasked after he hid his true self and crimes for decades behind the character he created, Dr Cliff Huxtable.

Cosby played physician and family man Huxtable in The Cosby Show, a top-rated comedy serial in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In April this year, he was found guilty of assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, in 2004.

Inspired by #MeToo Movement, more than 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of similar sexual assaults over decades.

Sarita Butterfield, who accuses Cosby of raping her in 1978 in a house in Massachusetts, welcomed the court verdict saying it is a victory in her heart and soul.

Sunni Welles, 70, who accuses Cosby of drugging and raping her twice in 1965, hailed Constand’s brave fight and victory in the court battle.