Bill Cosby was found guilty. Good.
But this was, all the same, a classic case of justice delayed being justice denied.
While a jury in Pennsylvania concluded on Tuesday that Cosby had indeed drugged and sexually assaulted one woman, Andrea Constand, at his home 14 years ago, dozens of other women who alleged that they also were assaulted by Cosby never got their day in court. Legal obstacles, including a statute of limitations on such crimes, denied them justice.
Cosby was once among the most popular entertainers in America. He was beloved. And for a long time, that protected him. His fall now, finally, is a testament to the power of the #MeToo Movement.
In Cosby’s first trial, just a year ago, a jury couldn’t agree on a verdict, despite Constand’s compelling testimony — and despite Cosby’s own admission that he gave quaaludes to women with whom he wanted to have sex.
It must have seemed inconceivable to the hold-outs on that first jury, as it did to many Americans, that the most popular dad in the history of TV could be guilty of using drugs and lies and his enormous celebrity status to sexually assault women.
But in the past year, other famous and powerful men have been called out as sexual predators, including the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey. And something in our collective national psyche has shifted. For the better.
That the jury in Cosby’s second trial chose to believe his accuser — though the alleged assault was 14 years ago — rather than the charming TV dad who stood accused, marks a turning point in the #MeToo Movement.
Cosby’s lawyers are blaming “Me Too Mania” for their client’s fall, and there is no doubt that every accusation of abuse must always be considered on its own merits. In every case, facts and evidence must carry the day, not sentiment or ideology.
But Cosby’s lawyers have it wrong.
This was no “witch hunt.”
This was no “lynching.”
This was not “McCarthyism.”
This was a day long overdue.
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