With more and more high-profile, Hollywood sexual assault cases coming to light, it’s essential to keep up to date with the latest news surrounding them. It doesn’t always seem like it, but keeping up with celebrities’ lives can be beneficial. We can gain insight by studying a few of the most infamous stories that have been in the news lately.
The Harvey Weinstein case, for instance, is probably the most familiar case to the public as it’s been in the news more frequently than anything else as of late. His story began on Oct. 5th when the New York Times published an article accusing him of sexually assaulting several Hollywood actresses. Three days later, the board of his own company voted in favor of his removal, firing him that same day. Later that same week, his wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman, decided to leave him. Some think her separation from Weinstein is an attempt at saving her fashion line, Marchesa, from the fallout. Over the next few weeks, dozens of Hollywood actresses would come forward accusing Weinstein of sexual assault and rape. He “unequivocally denies any accusations of non-consensual sex.”
You may also remember the Bill Cosby case, sparked by a comedy routine given by Hannibal Buress in 2014. Dozens of women accused Cosby over the next few years, resulting in one the most influential reports of Hollywood sexual assault. One of the most severe accusations was a claim that Cosby had drugged and raped Barbara Bowman. She claimed Cosby, who had been a mentor to her as a child, also attempted to destroy her career when she resisted him. He was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2015. His 2017 trial for these charges ended in a mistrial due to a “deadlocked” jury. Cosby is expected to go on trial again in 2018.
Perhaps one of the most shocking reports of Hollywood sexual assault is also one of the most recent. Just one month ago, Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of attempting to seduce him at a party in 1986. Rapp was only 14 years old at the time, which makes the allegation that much more severe. Rapp says he was inspired to publicly out Kevin Spacey because of the Harvey Weinstein case. Spacey then responded to these claims by coming out as gay, which did not sit well with most people. Since then, several other male actors have come out with similar accusations against Spacey, including others who claim he assaulted them as minors. There is at least one official investigation into these claims against Spacey in the UK.
There are dozens more of these sexual assault cases coming out of Hollywood every day. With the significant influence Hollywood has over the public, we’re starting to see more of these instances locally as well. Most of the above reports will fall under California’s sexual assault laws. California’s punishment for sexual assault ranges from 2 years in prison up to possible life in prison if the crime involves a minor. Locally, we have very similar laws, although you should be aware of some slight differences.
Rhode Island laws regarding sexual assault have a punishment ranging from 3 years to possible life in prison. Rhode Island also specifies a duty to report sexual assault. This statute states that any person, other than the victim, has a duty to report sexual assault to the police if they have knowledge of its occurrence. Punishment for not reporting sexual assault is a misdemeanor offense that may result in imprisonment for up to a year and/or a fine of up to $500. Rhode Island also has an equal punishment for making false accusations of a crime against someone, also known as defamation. If it is proven that someone has falsely accused someone of a crime, the accuser must pay restitution to the wrongly accused.
The subject of sexual assault is extremely delicate. Anything said by the accused or the accuser can be twisted to make or break a case. Hollywood sexual assault cases give the public examples of what to do or not do in response to allegations. Chances are, Kevin Spacey choosing to come out as gay just after being accused of sexual assault of a minor will make his case nearly impossible to defend.
So what should you do if you or someone you know gets accused of sexual assault? Get in touch with a lawyer. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a false accusation, it’s nearly impossible to defend yourself. People will naturally take the side of anyone who claims they were the victim of a sexual crime.
The law offices of S. Joshua Macktaz Esq. can help mitigate the impact this has on your life. Regardless of your situation, it’s smart to have representation. We see lives torn apart every day on the news with these Hollywood sexual assault allegations. It seems that police and prosecutors alike are on a witch hunt for anyone who fits the description. Don’t let this happen to you.