Tag: Bill Cosby

celebrity sex abuser

He Did Great Things. He Can Still Be an Abuser or Harasser.

Harvey Weinstein made great movies.

So did Roman Polanski.

So did Woody Allen.

Michael Jackson made great music.

So does R. Kelly.

Bill Cosby made millions laugh.

So did Louis C. K.

So did Al Franken.

We could go on and on.

The pattern is clear. Incredibly talented individuals aren’t always saints. In fact, sometimes their outward search for achievement and accolades masks inner demons that stay hidden for years until finally they surface.

(Just now, we noticed the obituary of James Levine, “the guiding maestro of the Metropolitan Opera for more than 40 years and one of the world’s most influential and admired conductors until allegations of sexual abuse and harassment ended his career.”)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/17/obituaries/james-levine-dead.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

We bring this up now because of reports of sexual misdeeds against popular New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

To millions, during the early days of the Covid pandemic, Governor Cuomo was a hero. He calmly kept the public informed about the progress his administration made in battling the virus, using facts and science and reason (unlike President Donald Trump).

And more relevant to us at Horowitz Law, he signed the Child Victims Act into law that is, right now, helping thousands of wounded New York adults who were molested as kids. It’s also helping warn thousands more about child molesters who’ve long flown under the radar.

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-extending-look-back-window-child-victims-act

Then, when the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc on the Court system, Cuomo went further, and extended the Child Victims Act one more year, again giving abuse survivors more time to come forward.

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-extending-look-back-window-child-victims-act

For this, we at Horowitz Law are grateful, as are many who care about kids and victims.

But at the end of the day all of this, and everything else Cuomo may have achieved over his long career, is irrelevant to the charges that he sexually harassed women. It’s apples and oranges.

No one denies that Cuomo often had successes. But no one should assume that because of those successes, he doesn’t or didn’t also have failures. . .or problems. . .or has engaged in sexual wrongdoing.

This pattern – widely=recognized accomplishments AND long-hidden wrongdoing co-existing in the same individual – is true for many predators. But it’s also true for many enablers.

Take Pope Francis for example. Early on, he won massive praise for carrying his own luggage moving into simpler living quarters and saying of gays and lesbians “Who am I to judge?”

Still he protects child molesters and those who cover for child molesters.

Still, eight years into his papacy, as former SNAP co-director David Clohessy noted on Twitter recently, Pope Francis hasn’t defrocked a single bishop for committing or concealing child sex crimes.

A few enabling bishops have voluntarily stepped down from their positions, while still retaining their emeritus titles and salaries and perks and all the rest.

Even fewer enabling bishops have been prodded to step down.

But virtually none have been fired.

So can we please, once and for all, walk and chew gum at the same time?

Can we please acknowledge that many are capable of BOTH wonderful behavior or achievement in public AND horrific behaviors and shortcomings in private?

Can we avoid the temptation to immediately and hurtfully take the side of the accused, over the accuser, just because the accused has managed to write great films, sing great songs, and even take heroic actions?

He’s Locked Up. Why Should I Act Now?

If you’ve been sexually victimized by anyone at any time, please pay attention to today’s news about Bill Cosby.

“What’s new about Cosby? He’s been in prison for months and will stay there for years, right?”

That’s half right. He’s been incarcerated for sexual assault. But he and his lawyers were just in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Their claim: his conviction should be overturned.

And – brace yourself – they might win.

“But my situation is nothing like the Cosby case. Why should I care about this?”

Because the sordid Cosby saga reminds all of us who want to stop sexual violence that WE CAN TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED and WE CAN’T ASSUME SOMEONE ELSE HAS OR WILL ‘FIX’ THINGS FOR US.

And because the actions of judges, predators and defense lawyers remind us that

—predators are often incredibly determined

—they often pick and can afford smart lawyers

—the law can be complex and evolving

—the law can be influenced by societal trends and pressures

—a judge or a panel of judges

—some employers do, in fact, hire employees without adequate background checks OR

—believe in ‘redemption’ and ‘forgiveness’ and even hire proven predators.

We could go on and on and on. Our point, quite simply, is that even after someone like Cosby winds up in prison, inaction is inadvisable. Things can change and long prison sentences, wrongly thought to end the danger of re-offending, can be reversed.

So if you haven’t spoke up about your abuse – for any reason – PLEASE RECONSIDER, especially if you’re assuming that your perpetrator isn’t or can’t hurt anyone else.

“But my abuser is now retired.”

That might make it worse, since he now has even more time to groom and abuse.

“My abuser isn’t around kids any more.”

That could change tomorrow when he volunteers at a local school or scout troop or starts offering trumpet lessons out of his apartment.

“My abuser is old and in a wheelchair.”

That kind of disability probably stops a would-be bank robber, but predators usually rely on cunning and manipulation, not physical prowess.

“My abuser has escaped charges in the past.”

That doesn’t guarantee he won’t be charged in the future. (In fact, if anything guarantees he’ll keep evading justice, it’s the silence of those he assaulted.)

“The statute of limitations has expired.”

That’s not necessarily true. Some states have reformed their statutes recently. Some exceptions to the statutes exist. Sometimes a predator can be nailed on other wrongdoing (witness intimidation, evidence destruction, child porn, child endangerment, etc.) besides the original child sex abuse.

“No one will believe me.”

That was once more likely the case. But fortunately – largely because of victims’ courage – society understands childhood trauma much better these days.

“I tried once but didn’t succeed.”

That’s painfully common. But NOT trying again guarantees failure. Maybe now you’ll find other victims, a better sheriff, a smarter lawyer or more allies.

We at Horowitz Law believe that virtually that’s truly valuable happens in one magic move. If there IS ANY single best step or solution that MOST effectively protects the vulnerable, it is this: when every victim who can speak up does speaks up (even if the predator has been extensively ‘outed’ in the media or even convicted).

So again, please reconsider your silence. And please forward this to anyone you know who was hurt (or you suspect may have been hurt) and remains silent.

(If you’re interested in the actual legal arguments in the Cosby case, they’re fairly straightforward. Cosby claims that his trial judge let too many of his victims testifying, thus unfairly prejudicing the jury against him. Prosecutors, on the other hand, argue that the other victims who took the stand basically showed a similar and thus relevant ‘pattern and practice’ of predation by Cosby.)

 

Sex Crimes Are Committed By People From All Walks of Life… and All Tax Brackets

Imagine a white collar criminal. What’s the first picture in your mind? Probably a somewhat well-off man.

Now imagine a car jacker. What’s the first picture in your mind? Probably a younger man.

Now imagine a child molester. What’s the first picture in your mind? Probably a working class man.

Like it or not, we’ve all got pre-conceptions. If we are to be a safer society, we’ve all got to learn to keep those pre-conceptions in check.

We must broaden our minds to include possibilities that initially we’re apt to unthinkingly rule out. (Example: that women can be child molesters too).

This comes to mind as allegations surface that the richest man in South Dakota, T. Denny Sanford, “was investigated for possible possession of child pornography, according to four people familiar with the matter.” According to ProPublica, “Sanford is a major donor to children’s charities and Republican politicians.”

https://www.propublica.org/article/billionaire-t-denny-sanford-was-under-investigation-for-child-pornography

We at Horowitz Law are not making some partisan point here. Nor are we implying that sexual misdeeds are more common in one party or the other. (Nor do we know if Sanford is innocent or guilty.)

What we ARE saying is that sex offenders – whether they go after kids or adults – can be found in every income range. (See Michael Jackson, for instance, and Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and Bill Cosby and so many others).

Many crimes are so-called ‘crimes of passion,’ as when a spouse comes home early, finding them committing adultery.

Other crimes are more rational, like when an accountant embezzles money to pay for his ailing mom’s expensive cancer treatment.

But sex crimes are different. Most of them are driven by irrational, deep-seated compulsions. And those compulsions can exist within all types of people from all tax brackets.

Most sex offenders, therefore, don’t fall into some easily-identifiable, logical category. They can be young or old, shy or outgoing, tall or short, and of course rich or poor.

We wish this weren’t the case, of course. Because this reality leads to a disturbing conclusion: We’ve ALWAYS got to be alert and vigilant and careful about kids’ safety.

Author Michael Lewis addresses this in his book “Home Game – An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood.” He writes: “One of the many surprising things to me about fatherhood is how it has perverted my attitude toward risk. It is true that there are many kinds of risk – emotional, social, financial, physical. But I can’t think of any I enjoy taking more than I did before I had children. There are little risk-averse things I do now that I never did before and little risk-averse feelings that I have now that I never had before.”

If you’re driving an expensive car with the windows down in a somewhat remote but crime-ridden neighborhood, you might want to be extra-cautious.

If you’re dressed “to the nines,” walking in a dark downtown area with few other people around, you might want to be extra-cautious.

But if you’ve got kids, you might want to be extra-cautious NO MATTER where you are or who’s around you.

It’s a daunting job. But it’s our most important job, plain and simple.

Common sense tells us that wealthy folks ARE NOT likely snatch purse snatchers or shoplifters struggling to pay rent or put food on the table.

But some rich people ARE very likely to be sex offenders. No amount of earnings or savings or professional success magically cures the twisted souls who feel compelled to exert power over others through sex. And the skills – interpersonal and professional – that help them get or stay rich also help them seem ‘normal’ and thus win trust and get access to youngsters.

Guilty Verdict in Bill Cosby Case Sends Powerful Messages

Bill Cosby guilty sexual

A Pennsylvania jury has found Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.  As the first major criminal trial since the emergence of the #MeToo movement, this verdict sends a message of hope to survivors of abuse and a warning message to those who have abused their power.  It also demonstrates that there is strength in numbers and justice can be achieved when people have the courage to speak out against criminal behavior by powerful people.  Finally, it serves as vindication for the dozens of women who said that the comedian drugged and sexually abused them.

Bill Cosby’s criminal case initially went to jury trial in June 2017.  It ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Then came the #MeToo movement.  After the New York Times and the New Yorker reported on the widespread allegations of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, more and more stories emerged about high-profile men across countless industries who abused their power.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has represented dozens of women who have been sexually assaulted by persons in positions of power.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, please contact our law firm at (954) 614-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com