By now, most of us have read horrendous details about the way Harvey Weinstein allegedly treated women over decades in the entertainment industry. Dozens of women have come forward, emboldened by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, to describe their own tragic encounters. But despite so many allegations, the movie mogul has never faced criminal charges, until now. Weinstein was finally indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in New York.
Years of Alleged Crimes but No Charges
The accusations against Weinstein have ranged from harassment to rape. He’s been sued for his behavior a number of times over the years, and he’s reached settlements with at least eight women since 1990 over claims of sexual harassment or unwanted physical contact. In 2015, he was investigated by the NYPD after an Italian model said Weinstein groped her. But, despite a sting in which the movie mogul apologized for his behavior, the district attorney declined to prosecute Weinstein, saying there was not enough evidence to file charges.
With the onslaught of recent allegations, however, multiple jurisdictions are now investigating whether or not they can charge Weinstein with any crimes. One of the primary roadblocks a prosecutor faces is the applicable statute of limitations which determines the amount of time after a crime occurs in which you can file charges.
Rape and Criminal Sex Act Charges
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance — the same D.A. who declined to prosecute Weinstein in 2015 — said the indictment brings Weinstein “another step closer to accountability” for the alleged attacks on two women, according to the AP. One woman told investigators that Weinstein confined her in a hotel room and raped her. The other woman, former actress Lucia Evans, says Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex at his office in 2004.
Denies Any Nonconsensual Sex
Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, emphasized that the film producer denies these and all allegations of nonconsensual sex. Brafman said Weinstein declined to testify in front of the grand jury, claiming there wasn’t enough time to prepare him, and that “political pressure” meant an indictment was inevitable anyway. His attorney also said Weinstein is “confident he’s going to clear his name.” There are many, many women who hope otherwise.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment or assault, speak with an attorney before time runs out to file a civil lawsuit or seek criminal charges.