The first accusation against Bill Cosby was leveled more than a decade ago, and even then, others, still unnamed, agreed to come forward.

Three years ago, New York magazine published its iconic cover, the one with 35 women photographed in austere black-and-white shots, and an article describing how the entertainer had drugged and assaulted them. Eventually, the number topped 60.

But even as they had watched as Cosby's career and reputation were reduced to tatters through two trials and countless headlines, Tuesday was the day — the day of reckoning — that mattered to most.

Bill Cosby accusers Sunni Welles, left, and Stacey Pinkerton embrace during a news conference with several other accusers at Savior Hall in Norristown Pa., on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Cosby was sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Bill Cosby accusers Sunni Welles, left, and Stacey Pinkerton embrace during a news conference with several other accusers at Savior Hall in Norristown Pa., on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Cosby was sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.

"I have waited 32 years for this day," said Chelan Lasha, who said that Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was 17 in 1986. "I prayed every day Mr. Bill Cosby would go to prison, do his time, and finally pay his dues."

Lasha was among a contingent of Cosby's accusers who filed into the Norristown courtroom to see justice delivered. They got it: a 3- to 10-year state prison term.

And as cameras clicked and reporters followed Cosby, 81, as he was led away in handcuffs, his victims, their supporters, and advocates savored the moment — one that took 14 years to secure, carried in large part by Andrea Constand, the only accuser whose allegation was fresh enough to be prosecuted.

When Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt stood before the microphones outside the courthouse, attacking the outcome of the case and pledging an appeal, he was almost drowned out by protesters shouting, "Justice for women!"

And despite the scores of past accusers, the end of the case liberated new voices.

Stacey Pinkerton had kept her secret long enough. Joining the list for the first time, she said Cosby raped her in Chicago in 1986. In the years afterward, Pinkerton said, she moved from one place to another before finally settling in Europe.

It was a relief The Cosby Show wasn't as prevalent there as it was in the United States, she said. Even so, "no place was far enough from Mr. Cosby."

Pinkerton was among nine accusers gathered an hour or so after the sentencing by attorney Gloria Allred — who has brought suits on behalf of several alleged Cosby victims — to share their stories at a news conference a few blocks from the courthouse. With them was Pennsylvania victim advocate Jennifer Storm.

Sunni Welles, 70, said Cosby took her to a California club in 1965, when she was 17 and working as a singer, dancer, and actress.

Cosby slipped drugs into her soda when she excused herself to go to the restroom, she said, and when she came back, she drank the rest of her soda. Eventually, Welles said, she awakened and found Cosby fondling her, then raping her.

Bill Cosby accuser Lise-Lotte Lublin speaks during the news conference with other accusers.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Bill Cosby accuser Lise-Lotte Lublin speaks during the news conference with other accusers.

Sarita Butterfield, who worked as a Playboy bunny in 1977 and modeled for the magazine — which she said is how Cosby first laid eyes on her — said he sexually assaulted her at his Massachusetts home the next year, when she was 22.

"It was devastating," Butterfield said. "It was shameful and I was trapped because I was in his home in Massachusetts and I had no way out. I didn't know what to do."

For her and the others, Tuesday was a life-changing moment. Cosby, they said, had finally gotten what he deserved.

"I am free of you," said Lise-Lotte Lublin, one of the trial witnesses against him. "I have moved on and I forgive you. I won't ever forget what you did to me, and there will be times I feel sorrow and pain, but it will never control my life."

Staff writer Michael Boren contributed to this article.