Aug 26, 2019

#MeToo vs. statutes of limitations

Harvey Weinstein (C). Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

There's a grand jury indictment against Harvey Weinstein, pushing his trial back to 2020 but allowing one of his alleged victims to testify against him.

Why it matters: The new indictment gets around statute of limitations issues pertaining to Annabella Sciorra's testimony, the New York Times reports.

  • The indictment will "let Ms. Sciorra tell her story on the witness stand under the legal theory that her testimony will support charges of predatory sexual assault, even though her alleged encounter with the producer happened so long ago to be charged separately as rape."
  • In "order to prove predatory sexual assault, prosecutors must present evidence that Weinstein committed felony sexual assault against at least two individuals," BuzzFeed News reported.
  • Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains his innocence.

The big picture: Some of the most prominent #MeToo cases involve allegations that are past individual statutes of limitations, even though activists are working to change that status quo.

  • Some history: "When laws around domestic violence and sexual harassment emerged in the 1970s and ’80s, they were meant to encompass an understanding of the broader dynamics of control and entitlement that informed insidious behaviors," the Times reported last year.
  • "But too often these laws were rendered in a way that limited their ability to impose consequences for the wide range of damages inflicted by patterns of manipulation and abuse."

Go deeper: The #MeToo election isn't happening

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Global #MeToo movement has resulted in 7 convictions, 4 charges of influential figures

Bill Cosby, Harvein Weinstein, and Larry Nassar. Photos: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images, Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images, and Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of powerful people — predominately men — have been accused of sexual offenses since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017. After film producer Harvey Weinstein's conviction, four of them face charges, while seven have been convicted.

Why it matters: The #MeToo movement focused global attention on previously unchecked sexual misconduct, leading at least 201 powerful men to lose jobs or major positions. But the movement, dubbed a global reckoning, has had few legal consequences for the accused. Here are some of the most notable cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Victim in Brock Turner sexual assault case comes forward

Photo: Courtesy of 60 Minutes

Chanel Miller, known until now as Emily Doe, is set to release a book titled "Know My Name" this month detailing her experience as the victim of sexual assault by Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner in 2016, per the New York Times.

Background: Miller was intoxicated and unconscious when Turner sexually assaulted her after a fraternity party at Stanford. Turner was found guilty on 3 counts of felony sexual assault and was eligible for up to 14 years in prison, but received a sentence of 6 months and only served 3. Judge Aaron Persky, who has since been recalled by California voters, argued "a prison sentence would have a severe impact" on the 20-year-old Turner.

Go deeperArrowSep 4, 2019

Big Tech's moral compass remains glitchy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 2 years after Susan Fowler's account of sexual harassment at Uber kicked off a wave of reckoning inside tech companies, the industry is still more reactive than forward-looking in handling the ethical issues raised by sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: By waiting for media exposure before taking principled action against sexual harassment and related misdeeds, some tech leaders are still sending a message of "get away with it as long as you can" rather than "do what's right."

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019