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FBI crime stats: Violent offenses, property crimes declined in 2017

Violent and property crimes decreased nationally, according to the FBI’s annual survey of crime in the United States.

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Preliminary national numbers portend a further decline this year..

The 2017 stats are welcome news after the previous two years showed slight increases in violent crime. Last year nationally, violent crime dipped 0.9 percent, a rate of 392.9 offenses per 100,000 residents. Property crime was down 3.6 percent, or 2,362 offenses per 100,000 residents — the lowest total since the late 1960s.

Jeff Sessions, who was sworn in as U.S. attorney general in February 2017, took credit for the positive numbers, telling a law enforcement group Monday, “Those are the kind of results you get when you support law enforcement. Those are the kind of results we get when we work together.”

“If you want more shootings and more death, then listen to the (American Civil Liberties Union), Black Lives Matter, or Antifa,” Sessions said. “If you want public safety, then listen to the police professionals who have been studying this for 35 years.”

Baltimore remains America’s most dangerous city with a population greater than 500,000, recording 342 homicides in 2017, a staggering rate of 56 murders per 100,000 people. It was even worse in St. Louis, with a population of around 300,000 and a murder rate of 66 per 100,000 people.

There was some good news for America’s urban centers. According to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan public policy and law institute, murder rates dropped 8.1 percent in the country’s biggest cities.

The Brennan Center is forecasting a similar drop in 2018, projecting the murder rate in America’s 30 biggest cities to drop 7.6 percent.

Delta Airlines computer tracking system back up; outage over

Update 11:06 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Delta Airlines has fixed it’s computer system after an outage Tuesday caused a nationwide groundstop.

Delta officials said operations were returning to normal and that it was working to rebook passengers whose flights were disrupted.

“We apologize to all customers for this inconvenience,” the company said in a written statement.

The ground stop did not affect flights in the air.

Original story:Atlanta-based Delta Airlines is experiencing an online outage, according to the company's Twitter account.

> Read more trending news 

Delta officials said the airline is having technical difficulties with its computer systems and that repairs are underway.

A ground stop is underway and airline officials said it may be another hour before the problem is fixed.

Passengers wrote on Twitter they are experiencing delays, can't buy tickets on their website or check flight status, and many are stuck on tarmacs across the country.

Delta released the following statement: 

“Delta IT teams are working diligently to address a technology issue impacting some of our systems. We have issued a Delta groundstop as we work to bring systems back up as quickly as possible. We apologize to all customers for this inconvenience.” 

Tyler Perry buys home for ailing mother of Atlanta gospel singer

Filmmaker Tyler Perry is lending a helping hand to the mother of a former colleague.

Perry reportedly just purchased a home for her in Atlanta. 

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Perry recently bought a $350,000 house for Bettie Pace, the ailing mother of LaShun Pace, a gospel singer and actress who worked alongside Perry in a play in 1999.

When the “Madea” star learned Bettie Pace was sick and her dying wish was to own a home for her family, he made her dreams come true. 

>> Related: Tyler Perry announces lawsuit against Florida ex- deputy over black man’s disappearance

LaShun Pace, whose hits include “There’s A Leak In This Old Building,” revealed the news in a video obtained by TMZ.

In the two-minute clip, the mom, surrounded by cheering loved ones, thanks Perry before cutting a big red ribbon attached to the front of the home. 

“Tyler Perry, thank you son,” she said. “Thank you for the house. God bless you.”

“Now you see what happens when you just live right and become Tyler Perry’s friend,” LaShun Pace gushed at the end of the recording. 

>> Related: Tyler Perry invites “Cosby” star Geoffrey Owens to Atlanta to film

This isn’t the first time Perry has been generous. Earlier this month, he offered “Cosby Show” alum Geoffrey Owens a role on one of his shows after he was “job shamed” for working at Trader Joe’s.

Woman describes bitter escape from ‘cult’ of Scientology in new book

Author and former Scientologist Michelle LeClair was just a teenager when she was first introduced to the Church of Scientology. She had moved from Norman, Oklahoma to Los Angeles where she felt adrift and alone, the perfect conditions, she said, for being recruited into what she now identifies as a cult with diminished power.

>> Read more trending news 

“Nobody cares what the Church of Scientology has to say anymore. They are like the little man behind the curtain who doesn’t have the strength and power he thought he had. Everyone is aware this is a cult that is built on lies,” LeClair said.

After more than two decades as a high-donor member of the church, LeClair, 45, said the organization sought to destroy her and her livelihood when she came out as a gay woman. The realization that she would not be accepted as her authentic self led to her departure in 2010. LeClair, who has lived in Atlanta since 2015 with her music-producer partner, Tena Clark and LeClair’s children from a previous marriage, details her journey in a new memoir, “Perfectly Clear,” (Berkley, $27). 

The Church of Scientology has rebutted LeClair’s account noting in a statement to People Magazine that she has not been involved with the church in a decade and that any financial undoing was of her own making. The church also denied that it has any official position on homosexuality. “Instead of accepting responsibility for her actions, Ms. LeClair appears to be peddling fiction,” the statement said. “We hope Ms. LeClair can someday find solace.”

LeClair wanted to share her story to expose the Church of Scientology and its treatment of gay people, said LeClair who believes the church subjected her to gay conversion therapy as a teenager.

“I tried to come out at 19 and that wasn’t happening. I had no status in the church. I was confused myself,” said LeClair referring to the moment when she began “auditing” sessions with the Church of Scientology, a process the church says will help members achieve spiritual clarity and enlightenment. 

>> Trending: Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison 

Looking back,LeClair realizes she was a prime target for recruiting. After the move to Los Angeles, her mother had begun working long hours as a consultant for a management training firm that was run by Scientologists. The stepfather that had provided some stability in her life left when her mother fell deeper and deeper into the church. LeClair spent a lot of time alone. She began working at the same company where her mother worked and found the kind of success and acceptance she had never felt before.

Since its founding in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology has been controversial. The medical and scientific communities have long disputed Hubbard’s claims about mental health, science and religion. The organization has been involved in a number of lawsuits including some from former members claiming to have been mistreated by the church. Since Hubbard’s death in 1986, the organization has been run by his protege, David Miscavige.

While the public faces of Scientology are major donors and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Leah Remini, who has since become an anti-Scientology activist, the organization preys on young, vulnerable and isolated individuals to work at the church, LeClair said. She fit the profile, but her confessions about her sexuality got her in trouble.

“When I tried to come out and the church told me it was wrong, it solidified my fear of who I was and I went back inside of my box and pushed down that side of me and allowed that to die,” she said. She had been ordered to read the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in Dianetics and Science of Survival.

>> Trending: Vote on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh set for Friday by Senate committee 

“L. Ron Hubbard states clearly homosexuals are sexual deviants. They’re the lowest of the low,” LeClair said. “They can claim they do not have any stance on gay relationships but the Church of Scientology says we have to take what L. Ron Hubbard has written and said as pure truth.” 

LeClair survived her rocky beginnings with the church and went on to marry, have children and build a successful career as founder of one of the the largest woman owned life-insurance companies in the country. But she felt stifled in a relationship that she described as abusive. 

She has heard through family members that her ex-husband is furious about how he is depicted in the book. “I think he is very smart at this point to not do a lot of threatening,” LeClair said. “There is no way in the world he can come out fighting and not be proven wrong.” 

They share four children -- Sage, 17; Savannah, 12; and twins, Jadon and London, 11, who spend time with their father during holidays and summer vacation. LeClair said she was most worried about how the book would impact her children.

Sage has traveled with her to promote the book. “Over the years he has seen my truth and he is proud of me for coming out of it. He just recently said he wanted to read the book,” she said. But she didn’t want her view of his father to taint his relationship with his dad. 

“I have tried to teach them that love must guide them to truth and family must always be first, that they came into the world in a rocky way but they came as a gift from god to give me strength,” said LeClair.

LeClair has also found strength in her partner, Clark with whom she began a relationship in 2010. At the time, LeClair was at the top of her game. 

“I was one of the largest donors in the Church of Scientology, my business partner was Kirstie Alley. I had one of the largest woman-owned insurance agencies in the nation. I didn’t think I could get in trouble for anything with the church,” she said. 

She believed love would conquer all. 

“When love truly touched me, it rocked every single element of my life and my being and I knew it was something I could not or would not walk away from,” she said. She tried to counter the church’s opposition by stating that she was in love with a being, not a body and therefore it should be accepted. When the church asked about procreation, she offered that gay women can procreate and if they did not, why should they be judged differently than church members who chose not to marry or have children? 

“I thought everything was going to be okay,” LeClair said. And for two months everything seemed fine. But she quickly realized how naive she had been. 

>> Trending: Tearful mother pleads for return of 6-year-old boy who disappeared from North Carolina park

Though the church disputes her story, LeClair believes after her relationship with Clark was made known, the church launched an investigation into her business and financial affairs which they laid out as a narrative for the State of California.

The California Department of Corporations sued LeClair and her business partner Dror Soref in 2012, accusing them of running a $21 million entertainment-industry Ponzi scheme from 2007 to 2010 that bilked senior citizens and others out of their savings. LeClair took a plea deal in return for testifying against Soref whom she had met while they were both involved with the church. 

In 2014, Soref reached a civil settlement with the state without admitting any wrongdoing. That same year, the Department of Insurance revoked LeClair’s insurance license. Rather than enter into a costly court battle, she gave up her license to practice for five years. In 2017, criminal charges against LeClair were dropped. 

Since moving to metro Atlanta, LeClair and Clark have worked to rebuild. LeClair was concerned when in 2016, the Church of Scientology opened a location in Sandy Springs. “I felt very sad for Atlanta that this cult has made its way into such an amazing town,” she said. “I don’t feel it is my right to tell anybody what their religion should be but you have a very dangerous cult that just landed in your backyard and that is very concerning to me.”

Clark has also supported the family financially while LeClair has pondered her next career move. An entrepreneur at heart, she has been building a non-toxic luxury beauty brand that will launch next year. And now that she is able to regain her insurance license, she is also considering a return to the industry. 

LeClair has dedicated proceeds from her book to a trust for her insurance clients. She said she hopes her story will help anyone who has struggled to be their authentic self, to walk out of an abusive relationship, to escape Scientology or to rebuild after failure. “I want people to know we have a choice,” she said. 

>> Trending: Teacher says she was fired after refusing to abide by 'no zero' policy 

As for Scientology, that is a chapter that is finally in her past. “I look at Scientology as something that enveloped my life for many years, that stole my ability to explore my sexuality, that forced me to live a life of sorrow and pain and I refuse to let it define me today,” LeClair said. “I have a new definition of success and that is how hard do I love? How many kisses do I give my partner and my children every day? What am I doing in the world to give back for the second chance that I have?” 

‘I never thought my dog would get shot’: Puppy killed in front of kids

A man is accused of shooting and killing a puppy in front of children in northwest Atlanta, according to WSB-TV.

On Tuesday, police released surveillance photos of the suspect, who is believed to live in that area. Police also want to speak to a woman seen with the man when he was running away from the scene.

The man allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the 5-month-old brown lab, named Lady, on Hightower Road in the middle of the day Sept. 13.

After she was shot, Lady managed to take a few steps before collapsing and dying in the driveway, the news station reported.

“I never thought my dog would get shot,” the pet’s owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

The owner said her stepson and a group of young children were playing with Lady in front of her home when the man walked by and grabbed her by the collar.

“While he was walking away with the dog from the other side of the street, he shot the dog,” the owner said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.

Hurricane safety: Who's responsible when a tree falls on your home or car?

After a hurricane strikes, there is always plenty of damage to homes, cars and other property.

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Here are some tips to help determine who might be responsible when a tree falls on a home or car.

The tree is yours:

  • If the tree falls on your home, your homeowners insurance should cover it. Homeowners insurance covers any covered structure on your property or a blocked driveway/wheelchair ramp. The insurance also pays up to $500 to remove the tree from your property.
  • If you rent, you should carry renters insurance but the landlord is usually responsible for the damage, so be sure to check your lease. 
  • If the tree falls on your vehicle, your auto insurance should pick up the tab, but you're still responsible for the deductible.

The tree is not yours:

  • All cases are different, but if the other party was negligent then they’re responsible. If the other party wasn't negligent, then you're responsible. 
  • If you're responsible and the tree falls on your home, then the same conditions apply from above.

Vote on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh set for Friday by Senate committee

Controversy continues to swirl around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of decades-old sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by a pair of women.

>> Read more trending news

What was expected to be a simple nomination process has become mired in allegations involving incidents alleged to have occurred while Kavanaugh was in high school or college.

Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s, when they were both teenagers.

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Republican leaders have tapped Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford and SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, according to a statement from committee chair Chuck Grassley.

Mitchell, a career sex crimes prosecutor, will question Ford and Kavanaugh on Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school in the early 1980s.

>> Related: Brett Kavanaugh denies sexual assault allegations in first TV interview: ‘I never did any such thing’

“The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators  an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns,” Grassley said.

Mitchell is on leave from the Maricopa County Prosecutor’s Office in order to participate in the hearing Thursday.

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein called the planned vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination “outrageous.”

“For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” the California Democrat said in a statement Tuesday.

Feinstein accused the GOP of creating an unfair process.

“First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote, she said.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, however, denied the accusations. 

>> Related: SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations

“Still taking this 1 step at a time,” Grassley said in a post on social media.

Grassley said that committee rules require three days notice before a vote. 

“So we’re following regular order,” he said.

He also said if the committee isn’t ready to vote after Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimony Thursday, then they’ll postpone it.

Update 6:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Friday morning on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ford is set to testify before the committee on Thursday about the assault she said she suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh at a party when the two were still in high school.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will get a chance to tell her story before the committee votes, but committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh Tuesday about her allegations and he denied them again, according to news reports.

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: An attorney representing Ramirez said Tuesday that his client wants the FBI to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh.

“We remain adamant that an FBI investigation, where all witnesses are questioned under threat of perjury, is the only way to get the truth,” attorney John Clune wrote on Twitter.

Clune added that Ramirez stands by her account of drunken wrongdoing by Kavanaugh, as told to The New Yorker and published Sunday.

Original report: President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of using the allegations to play a “con game” with Kavanaugh.

>> SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations

The president claimed that Deborah Ramirez, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of making unwanted sexual advances toward her during a college party in the 1980s, said, “She was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been.”

“This is a con game being played by the Democrats,” Trump said.

Ramirez is the second woman to go public with accusations against Kavanaugh. She told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University.

>> Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez?

University professor Christine Blasey Ford is expected to provide testimony Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about a separate alleged encounter she says she had with the Supreme Court nominee when they were both teenagers.

Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has issued several denials of the allegations.

>> Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court?

"I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh said in an interview that aired Monday on Fox News. "I've always treated women with dignity and respect."

The Supreme Court nominee is also expected to testify at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Just Dunkin': Dunkin' Donuts to change its name

Dunkin' is dropping the donuts - from its name, anyway.

>> Read more trending news

Donuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself "Dunkin'" to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks. Besides, Dunkin' Donuts has already been on a first-name basis with its customers long before the tagline, "America Runs on Dunkin'."

In a press release, the chain says it recognizes that relationship, and this is just one of the many steps to transform itself into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand.

The change will officially take place in January when the new name will start appearing on napkins, boxes and signs at its U.S. stores. The name change will eventually be adopted by international stores.

Dunkin' has more than 12,500 restaurants globally.

The 68-year-old chain says its new logo will still have the familiar rounded font and orange-and-pink color scheme the company has used since 1973.

Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin' says the name change is one of several things it's doing to stay relevant to younger customers. It's also simplifying its menu and adding dedicated mobile ordering lanes. 

And don't worry, the donuts aren't going anywhere! 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison

A judge sentenced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison Tuesday, five months after a jury found him guilty of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004.

>> Read more trending news

Judge Steven O’Neil handed down the sentence after ruling earlier Tuesday that Cosby, 81, is a “sexually violent predator.” The designation means he will have to undergo lifetime counseling and report regularly to authorities. 

Update 6:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Bill Cosby has left the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, according to local media reports, where he was taken directly after his sentencing Tuesday. 

He has been moved to a state prison, the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix, CNN reported, where he’ll undergo testing and evaluations which will help authorities determine a permanent placement for him.

Every inmate goes through the process, which could take months.

Cosby was sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former friend and victim Andrea Constand.

Dozens of women had accused Cosby of drugging and raping them dating back to the 1970s.

Update 5:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Bill Cosby is being moved to the state correctional facility after his sentencing Tuesday afternoon.

Several news outlets have posted his jail booking photo on social media.

Once he’s checked into prison, officials will issue him the following:  prison attire, one blanket, two sheets, one towel, one washcloth, one hygiene kit (containing a toothbrush, tooth paste, a bar of soap, shampoo, deodorant, a pen and a comb), according to WCAU-TV. 

Update 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Tuesday that he was “pleased” with the “fair and significant sentence” handed down to Cosby on Tuesday.

“He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them,” Steele said. “Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked.”

He praised Andrea Constand, who was drugged and molested by Cosby in 2004, for her steadfast resolve in seeing the actor prosecuted. 

“We are all better off because she is in our lives,” Steele said. “She’s been through an ordeal these past 14 years and she’s been solid and steadfast. She’s been a rock. She’s done the right thing over, and over, and over again.”

>> Bill Cosby sentenced to prison: Read Andrea Constand's impact statement

Constand said in a victim-impact statement released Tuesday that life as she knew it “came to an abrupt halt” in January 2004, after she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby.

“After the assault, I wasn’t sure what had actually happened, but the pain spoke volumes,” she said. “The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself.”

She said that she is still grappling with fallout from the incident.

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office told The Associated Press that Cosby will be held at the county jail for a few days before he’s taken too SCI Phoenix, a new state prison outside of Philadelphia.

>> 5 things to know about Bill Cosby, his prison sentence, victim Andrea Constand

“(There) staff will assess his physical, medical and security needs,” the AP reported. “Cosby could end up in a long-term medical care unit.”

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, called his client’s trial “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States” after a judge sentenced him Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison.

Wyatt said jurors never heard of Cosby’s history as a pillar in the community during his trial. The comedian did not take the stand during the proceedings.

“Mr. Cosby knows that God is watching over him. He knows that these are lies,” Wyatt said. “They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. (I’m) not saying Mr. Cosby is Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.”

Wyatt said Cosby and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by at least two women of sexual misconduct, are victims of a “sex war.”

“What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of that sex war that Judge O'Neil along with his wife are a part of,” Wyatt said.

Update 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby kept his gaze down after Tuesday’s sentencing hearing as he was escorted from the courtroom with his hands handcuffed in front of him.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 32 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, said the court sent an “important message” with Cosby’s sentence.

"This is a very important day,” she said. “Judgement day has come."

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: O’Neil denied bail for Cosby after handing down his sentence Tuesday, according to WHYY.

Cosby’s attorneys had argued for bail, the news station reported.

“I’ve imposed sentencing at this stage,” O’Neil told Cosby’s attorneys, according to KYW-TV. “If you want to take it up with another court, you can.”

>> Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: O’Neil sentenced Cosby to three to 10 years imprisonment Tuesday.

Cosby will serve out his sentence in state prison, WHYY reported.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison while the defense asked for Cosby to be sent home on house arrest. 

Cosby was convicted in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. A jury determined that Cosby drugged and molested Andrea Constand, who then worked as the director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, in 2004 at his suburban Philadelphia home.

>> Camille Cosby says ‘mob justice, not real justice’ led to Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction

O’Neil earlier deemed Cosby a “sexually violent predator.” The designation means he will have to register as a sex offender and undergo counsel for the rest of his life.

Cosby’s conviction was the first of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era.

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT Sept 25: O’Neil told people gathered in court Tuesday that he will announce Cosby’s sentence at 1:30 p.m., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Andrea Constand said in a victim-impact statement released Tuesday that life as she knew  it “came to an abrupt halt” in January 2004, after she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby.

Constand was working as director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team after a professional stint with a team in Italy when the assault happened. She said the incident made her feel powerless and left her with years of unrelenting pain, stress and anxiety.

>> Temple University rescinds Bill Cosby's honorary degree after sexual assault conviction

“When the sexual assaulted happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”

Cosby was found guilty in April of drugging and molesting Constand in 2004. The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the same charges. 

Cosby’s conviction marked the first of a celebrity in the #MeToo era. A judge is expected to hand down the comedian’s sentence Tuesday.

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: A judge ruled Tuesday that Cosby is a “sexually violent predator,” meaning that he will have to undergo lifetime counseling and report regularly to authorities, according to The Associated Press.

The designation was made Tuesday by Judge Steven O’Neill on the second day of a two-day sentencing hearing for Cosby. Prosecutors are asking that the 81-year-old get five to 10 years in prison for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby’s attorneys have asked for house arrest.

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby arrived at the courthouse Tuesday morning to start the second day of his sentencing hearing on charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told The Associated Press that the 81-year-old comedian doesn’t plan to make a statement in court. Cosby did not testify at either of his trials.

>> ‘The Cosby Show’ reruns are gone from Bounce TV

Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. His attorney wants the judge to send Cosby home on house arrest, saying he’s too old and frail for prison.

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Comedian Bill Cosby could see less than 4 years in jail after the judge Monday merged the three counts of aggravated indecent assault Cosby was convicted of into one for sentencing purposes because the counts were all connected to one event, according to news outlets. Cosby may not even see any jail time based on criminal guidelines in Pennsylvania and the fact that he has no previous record. He was facing as much as 30 years behind bars.

Also during proceedings Monday, victim Andrea Constand and members of her family delivered impact statements.

>> Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expels Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski

Constand said she just wants “justice” in the case, according to CNN.

"I have testified, I have given you my victim impact statement. You heard me, the jury heard me and Mr. Cosby heard me. All I'm asking for is justice as the court sees fit," Constand said in court.

Her mother, father and older sister also delivered impact statements.

The defense has not called any witnesses, yet, including Bill Cosby, but could tomorrow. 

Original report: Cosby, 81, could spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is facing as many as 30 years in prison, although state guidelines for someone like Cosby, who does not have any prior convictions, call for between one and four years in prison.

The sentencing hearing will begin with testimony about Cosby's sex offender evaluation and whether he should be deemed a sexually violent predator. That would make him subject to lifetime counseling and community notification.

A jury found Cosby guilty in April 2018 of drugging and molesting onetime friend Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand was in court Monday for Cosby’s sentencing hearing.

Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, making his the first conviction of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era.

The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the same charges. 

Jurors deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days in June 2017, but they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether Cosby drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home, The Associated Press reported.

Cosby maintained that he and Constand shared a consensual sexual encounter. Cosby's attorney said Constand was a "con artist" who leveled false accusations against the comedian so that she could sue him.

Dozens of women have made high-profile accusations that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but Constand’s case was the only one to result in criminal charges against Cosby. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Weight Watchers rebrands as WW

Weight Watchers is no more.

The company, which offers various products for weight loss and maintenance, has rebranded as WW.

Touting itself as “Weight Watchers reimagined,” the brand’s new tagline is “Wellness that Works.”

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“The name WW reflects that we’re becoming the world’s partner in wellness,” according to the company website. “We will always be the global leader in weight loss, but now WW welcomes anyone who wants to build healthy habits—whether that means eating better, moving more, developing a positive mindset, focusing on weight…or all of the above!”

CNBC reported that the change comes as diet and food trends are that is moving toward healthier and clean eating over weight loss.

“So this has been part of an evolution of a journey to go from being undisputed leader in healthy eating for weight loss to much broader than that,” CEO Mindy Grossman told CNBC Monday. “To truly be a partner to people in overall wellness — for what you eat, how you move, how your mind works — to support you and how you become part of a community.”

Digiday reported that the company is in the process of making its mobile app a stand-alone platform, competing with apps such as Noom, Fitbit and MyFitnessPal.

“What we want to do is deliver an experience that meets our customers’ needs, and I think, to do that well, we have to understand them better, and that centers around the data they provide,” WW chief technology officer Michael Lysaght said. “It’s all about using the data to help them on their journey in a way that will help them be more successful.”

The app will go beyond managing weight-loss by encouraging healthier eating choices and tracking fitness and other wellness activity.

Weight Watchers has been among the most popular weight loss and weight management programs. Notable participants include Oprah Winfrey and DJ Khaled.

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