Tag: R. Kelly

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.”)


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.


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.


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?

Let’s Recognize the Courage of Black Sexual Abuse Survivors During Black History Month

During Black History Month each year, we collectively turn our attention to brave and accomplished Black figures, everyone from Harriett Tubman  to Dr. Martin Luther King and beyond.

It’s of course very valuable to lift up and remember such inspiring figures as Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, Shirley Chisholm, Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes and others.

But it’s also safe.

Their heroism is decades old and their oppressors are long gone.


What about CURRENT Black heroes? They should not be overlooked.

We’re talking about Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo Movement, who recently explained, “The stakes are higher in a lot of instances for us than they are for a lot of other women… that creates a dynamic where you have women of color who have to think a little bit differently about what it means for them to come forward in cases of sexual harassment.”

And Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas who spoke out against Dr. Larry Nassar and USA gymnastics.

And R. Kelly’s victims, including Faith Rodgers, Andrea Kelly (Drea), Tracey Sampson and Tiffany Hawkins (who sued him back in 1996).


“The stakes are higher in a lot of instances for us than they are for a lot of other women,” said Tarana Burke, a black activist who founded the #MeToo movement on Twitter in 2006 to raise awareness around sexual violence. “That creates a dynamic where you have women of color who have to think a little bit differently about what it means for them to come forward in cases of sexual harassment.”


We could obviously go on and on. The heroic – and recent – actions of these brave Black women, and others, should be recognized, not just in February, but forever.


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.”


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.