Cosby conviction is #MeToo movement's first big win


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She added that she felt a sense of relief for the dozens of women who spoke out against Cosby and “who came forward courageously to do a very difficult thing, which is to stand up in the face of power and celebrity to tell their truth.”

“I’m delighted for them,” Burke said.

Andrea Constand, center, after the guilty verdict was delivered at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.Mark Makela / Getty Images

All told, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. The statute of limitations had expired for all except one: Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging and molesting her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. Cosby was charged in the case in 2015, and the three counts he was convicted of on Thursday stem from that encounter.

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Constand and a handful of other women testified at Cosby’s retrial, each sharing similar stories of being wooed by the entertainer, who they alleged took advantage of them. Cosby, 80, said the encounters were consensual.

The verdict bolsters the #MeToo movement and shows that women can be heard when they come forward, said Stefanie K. Johnson, an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado Boulder’s business school, who co-wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review exploring why women fail to report sexual harassment.

Cosby, left, after being notified a verdict was reached.Mark Makela / Pool via AP

“Women need to feel like their claims are going to be taken seriously and that justice will be served,” Johnson said. “There’s really very little motivation to ever come forward, and I think that’s why sexual assault and sexual harassment persist.”

“I think it’s essentially setting a precedent for the other men who are in line to go to court to face sexual harassment. I think this was extremely important to have this verdict.”

“I think it’s essentially setting a precedent for the other men who are in line to go to court to face sexual harassment. I think this was extremely important to have this verdict.”

“There are many other people in line to face trial,” she added, referring to ongoing criminal investigations of alleged inappropriate behavior by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and others. Weinstein and Spacey have not been criminally charged.

“It’s essentially setting a precedent for the other men who are in line to go to court,” Johnson said of the Cosby case. “This was extremely important to have this verdict.”

Laura Palumbo, a spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, attended Cosby’s trial for a week and heard the accusers testify. She described the verdict as “a long-awaited symbolic victory for many survivors of sexual assault.”

“We have seen so much change in just recent months as thousands of individuals have come forward through the Me Too movement and really become a powerful chorus,” she said. “And we hope that this gives a renewed sense of purpose for survivors.”

She said the case exemplified the challenges when accusations are years old but fall just within the statute of limitations, and predicted the case would have far-reaching implications.

“It proved that despite the hurdles of trying a sexual assault case after many years when a case is not immediately reported that justice can still prevail,” Palumbo said.



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