Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, once dubbed "America's Dad", will serve three to 10 years in a state prison, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced Cosby in a Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom after nearly two hours of weighing the decision in his chambers, the Associated Press reported.

“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby," Judge O'Neill said. "This has all circled back to you. The time has come.”

Judge O'Neill reportedly quoted a statement from victim Andrea Constand, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

Five months ago, Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting Constand in 2004. Earlier Tuesday, the judge classified Cosby a "sexually violent predator". Such classification would require Cosby to undergo lifetime counselling, submit to quarterly reports, and appear in a sex offender registry. This led to speculation that Cosby might be sentenced to house arrest.

Prosecutors hoped to see Cosby jailed for five to 10 years.

Constand is one of about 60 women who have accused of Cosby of sexual misconduct. She alerted authorities to her encounter with Cosby in 2005.Cosby's first trial in 2017 ended with a hung jury.

Cosby's defense team maintains that all the encounters were consensual. Women who have come forward allege Cosby drugged them before taking advantage of them.

Cosby's case attracted nationwide attention after actor and comedian Hannibal Buress referenced the allegations against the elder comedian during a 2014 stand-up performance in Philadelphia.

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