Sexual Assault Accusations 40 Years Later
What happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty’?
want to praise Jeremy Piven. That’s a risky thing to do, I know. Piven is one of Those Men. One of those big entertainment figures who has fingers pointed at him. He has joined Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and many others in facing accusations that he abused his power to sexually abuse women.
Yet Piven has also issued a principled statement that should give pause to all those taking pleasure in the #MeToo movement’s instant destruction of men’s careers.
After describing the accusations against him as “absolutely false,” Piven laments the fact that “allegations are being printed as facts” and “lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence.” He wonders what happened to “the benefit of the doubt.” To “tear each other down and destroy careers based on mere allegations is not productive at all,” he says.
He’s right. In defending himself, Piven is also defending one of the core principles of an advanced society: the presumption of innocence.
If we want justice for Harvey Weinstein’s victims, we need to presume innocence until he’s proven guilty
In the flurry of constant developments surrounding this case, we seem to have forgotten that in the eyes of the law he is still innocent
Allegedly: a word you’ll often see and hear in the media when they report on crimes. Alleged crimes.
“Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein allegedly raped and sexually assaulted…” looks wishy-washy, clunky and clumsy in headlines. But that careful insertion of the word before the verb is more than just three-syllable guarantor against a lawsuit: it leaves room for the alleged perpetrator to defend themselves – and for the prosecution to mount a case against them.
Sexual harassment: What happened to presumption of innocence?
In regard to the recent accusations of sexual assault made against numerous celebrities and politicians, what ever happened to presumption of innocence? Decades ago it used to be incumbent on the accuser to provide proof of truth to an accusation made against others before anything went further. Today it’s the other way around. Now those accused have to scramble to respond to an accusation even when no proof is offered. If the accused can’t provide definitive proof, they are presumed guilty. It seems the accuser can make almost any accusation, consequently destroying careers and lives, and they are not held accountable in any way? Not right.
In the case of years or decades old allegations, I feel the accusers have less than zero credibility, particularly in the case of accusations against politicians. I find it suspect that the woman who recently accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is doing so just 30 days prior to the election. She was only able to muster the courage to come forward at age 53, 38 years after the incident? I understand the ignorance of youth at age 14 when the incident supposedly happened — but at 53 years old? Pathetic. (Just to state the obvious; if any allegations are proven true, I have zero sympathy for the accused and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law).
To illustrate my point, Mitt Romney recently commented about Mr. Moore’s situation; “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections.” I can guarantee 1,000 percent Mitt wouldn’t feel the same way if similar accusations were made against him during an election (or ever).Share on Facebook Tweet about this