Join us when we discuss the laws on CONSENT with Weinstein survivors, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and President of the NY State Trial Lawyers Association, Michele Mirman on Thursday, July 16th, at 7 PM EDT.
Almost one year from the date of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby’s conviction as a sexual predator, April 26,2018, a new book will be released that supports, categorically, that my recommended definition for #CONSENT – Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA, – is absolutely correct!
Huge thanks to Nina, from New Jersey, for passing this information along!
Page Six covered the story of the book’s release yesterday. Fortunately, the foreperson for the jury, Cheryl Carmel, had been working with a newly enacted European data protection law. She told her fellow jurors, “This is the most far-reaching law anywhere in the world for individual privacy, and the basis of the law centers around an individual’s ‘consent.’ ”
The Page Six article states:
The definition of consent in this privacy law states it must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. It must be given by a clear affirmative act; it must be demonstrated that each of the above tests occurred, and it must be able to be withdrawn at any time.
“This is the privacy definition,” she said. “Surely, there is a specific legal definition of consent for criminal acts such as aggravated indecent assault.”
It turns out there isn’t, at least not in Pennsylvania.
The jury sent a note to the judge, requesting a definition of the word. The judge replied in open court. His reply was perplexing to the jury; they were informed that there isn’t a definition — that is, Pennsylvania law does not offer a definition of “consent,” and the judge advised the jurors to define the word for themselves.
Convicting sexual predators cannot rely on Cheryl Carmel being the foreperson for every sexual assault jury!
As I clearly stated in my TEDx Talk, every state and territory must have a clearly stated and accurate definition for consent that guides people’s behavior and holds sexual predators accountable. My TEDx Talk and my book, “Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault” focuses on the consent issues from state to state and clearly explains why Nonconsensual Sex Is Sexual Assault, and CONSENT is Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA!
It’s not over ’til it’s over, and you can do your part to insure it never happens again!
One of the oldest doctrines in law is “Nulla poena sine lege.” (How old? It’s Latin! It dates all the way back to the Roman era.) It basically means, “What is not prohibited by law is permissible.” This doctrine keeps the gates open on whether the judge and jury were within the bounds of PA law in determining Bill Cosby’s fate, a premise Cosby’s attorneys will likely argue upon appeal.
This doctrine and its application are the route of why we must have an overall recognition that nonconsensual sex is sexual assault in our penal codes. Law makers could not even begin to state the infinite ways a person can be sexually assaulted, just as they cannot possibly predict the infinite ways a person can be murdered. We know when someone kills another person by any means, they are a murderer. Our laws must reflect that when someone sexually violates a person by any means, they are a sexual predator committing a sexual assault.
You can help make a difference!
You can stand up for defining consent as #FGKIA in the laws of every state, including PA, and establishing that Nonconsensual Sex IS, WAS and ALWAYS WILL BE, Sexual Assault!
Help get this across to society by doing the following today:
There are soooo many lessons to be learned by Bill Cosby’s trial and conviction! Today, as he was led to prison in handcuffs, the wry smugness that had punctuated his features had finally vanished. The downward cast of his eyes in his mugshot mimicked the steep decline of his fall from grace.
Here’s my take on the three biggest lessons we can learn from his conviction…..
Andrea Constand’s Impact Statement underscores that violence is far from the only way victims of sexual predators can be harmed. Instead of using violent force to overwhelm her, Cosby used drugs. Constand’s brains were muddled and it was impossible for her to freely give knowledgeable and informed agreement. #FGKIA
Just like Constand was denied consent by Bill Cosby, any victim who is denied consent is sexually assaulted, not seduced.
It’s high time for our law makers to get it right and protect society!
Our present system of testimony in sexual assault trials is appalling. Constand admirably described her ordeal at her deposition for her civil case:
I had to relive every moment of the sexual assault in horrifying detail in front of Mr. Cosby and his lawyers. I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears. I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of shame and helplessness, and at the end of each day, I left emotionally drained and exhausted.
There is no reason why the offender and the victim must actually sit in the same room. With our present state of technology, this method of questioning is outdated and unnecessary. By its very nature, it’s intimidating and one of the reasons sexual assault victims refrain from speaking up. It forces the victim to relive their trauma in front of the very person who traumatized them.
Murder victims are not alive to testify in person about their murder, yet justice proceeds. Victims whose soul has been murdered should not have to be in the same room as the person who murdered their soul. It’s cruel, and thanks to technology, it’s unnecessary.
One person’s testimony meant nothing to law enforcement. Constand’s case only succeeded in generating action once scores of victims came forward. Her story is the same for countless victims that report the horrific crimes they suffered. Instead of securing the support, help, and justice they sorely need, they’re met with disdain, disbelief and dismissal from the authorities. Had Cosby not been a public figure, it’s unlikely he would have been arrested on sexual assault charges.
In another less high-profile case, Mario Anioine, in Kansas City Missouri, harmed 30+ women. A Federal Prosecutor called him a “serial rapist.” Yet the SVU Prosecutor failed to file charges for rape against him. Fortunately, he was ultimately found guilty of federal cyber crimes.
Each victim of sexual assault deserves to secure the unequivocal support of law enforcement. Their attitude toward non-violent rape or rape by acquaintances is appalling. NYPD Commander Peter Rose of the 94th Precinct disclosed the horrid underbelly of police mentality toward acquaintance rapes when he stated that violent rapes by strangers was a real crime and ignored 10 out of 13 acquaintance rape cases in his precinct.
Enough Is Enough!
How long must we tolerate our lawmakers’ uncanny blindness toward the sexual sanctity of a person’s body and the life-altering, deeply painful, and shameful pall it casts over the victim for the rest of their entire life?
We CAN make a difference! We CAN get the laws changed across the US! Please watch this TEDx Talk! Share it with everyone you know! Call your legislator and say #FGKIA, Sign it into law Today! Don’t vote for them if they won’t give you a new law that protects yourself, your children and your children’s children!
On May 4th, nationally syndicated Kevin Price departed from his business focused 17 years of excellence as the host of “The Price of Business”to speak about a topic he wants everyone to know about… the Bill Cosby trial and what changed.
He and I discussed how the second trial, the one that finally wiped the smug smirk off the comedian’s aging face; differed from the first and what this means going forward.
For Cosby’s countless victims, and I say “countless” because I’m sure there were far more who didn’t reveal their personal stories for a myriad of reasons, recovery just took a giant step forward!
Defilement makes you feel dirty all the way to the core of your being. Our reproductive organs are a primal part of our very existence. For sexual predators, that connection to our inner self is incidental to their interest in playing out their deviant sex acts on our bodies.
Defilement makes the victim feel violated, isolated and invisible. Validation makes us feel accepted once again. Justice provides that validation. Every victim of defilement deserves justice, no matter what device or manipulation was used to violate them, whether by force, duress, or deception.
Hopefully, Cosby’s conviction will serve as an awakening to law enforcement that “acquaintance rapes,” which they’ve long turned a deaf ear to, are every bit as devastating to the victim as being raped by a stranger. In fact, the reality that someone you trust can be so utterly cruel adds an entire dimension to your pain.
Far from an isolated incident
Two weeks ago, I testified to a joint committee of NYC’s City Council who were addressing the New York Police Dept. (NYPD,) over their systemic lack of responsiveness to acquaintance rapes. Councilman Donovan Richards, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee said,
“It’s no wonder that victims don’t report more often. And it seems that NYPD is just fine with victims of sex crimes being ignored.”
NYPD Chief of Department, Terence Monahan, said,
“I take umbrage that you don’t think we take this seriously,”
The stories told by victims were inspiring, but only two lower level police employees remained to hear them. ALL the top brass, including Chief Monahan, had left the building. “Seriously??” C’mon!!
So what’s next for Cosby?
Certainly not a comeback for his comedy career, unless it’s entertaining other inmates!
Prosecutor Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to revoke the million dollar bail that keeps Cosby free. But Judge O’Neill sent him home under house arrest to his Cheltenham, PA, sprawling estate. The maximum penalty for his offenses is 30 years behind bars, but his attorney, Tom Mesereau has pledged to file an appeal.
DA Steele laid legal groundwork to admit the testimony of additional victims, beyond Andrea Constand, who Cosby assaulted. Although Steele had asked for nineteen victims, O’Neill agreed to five. Mesereau will likely say their testimony was prejudicial. Steele will respond that the state has the right to establish a pattern of conduct when similar methods of operation exist. Using the DOCTRINE OF CHANCES, is allowed in evidence. It’s role is to demonstrate that the accused is unlikely to be innocent when their criminal behavior is consistent time and time again.
Another issue the defense is likely to raise is that the judge’s wife is an advocate for sexual assault victims at the University of Pennsylvania. Having a spouse with a view consistent with the findings of the court; however, does not automatically rule out the judge.
Their may be additional rulings made by the judge that the defense will seize on.
Absurdities in this case
I find it astonishing that Cosby insisted he had the consent of a gay woman. How on earth did he possibly feel anyone could believe she willingly agreed?
In his civil deposition, he admitted he didn’t know if he had Constand’s consent. Pennsylvania’s legislators need to seriously address the fact that its penal code fails to clearly define what consent is….. Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement! #FGKIA. This fact is what made it impossible to lock up Cosby the first time around, and it was necessary to torment additional accusers by subjecting them to “slut shaming” in order to get Cosby put away.
Sentencing must take place within ninety days. Because he’s legally blind, and an advanced age, options for incarceration could include a minimum security prison or even an institution for assisted living.
Cosby claimed he’s not a flight risk because he doesn’t own a private plane…. as if he doesn’t have the money to purchase that service. While the saga for Cosby is ongoing, at least the victims have the satisfaction that their tireless, painful efforts were finally rewarded and that they’ve inspired drastically needed change!
.After all those years of fooling society into thinking he was the perfect father image, allegedly the perfect cover for conducting sexual assault, his cover’s been blown. And like a true Narcissist, he can’t leave well enough alone. He has to be the grand leader…. hence, he’s grandstanding in a new venue: Town Halls.
I am sooo very pleased to announce that on November 13th, Assembly Members Troy Singleton, Gabriela Mosquera, and Pamela Lampitt introduced Legislation #3908 making it unlawful to defraud a victim of sex in the state of New Jersey!
This bill has a long way to go before passage. It will be be reviewed in committee and must be approved by both the Assembly and the state’s Senate. But it is a huge step forward in the effort to enlighten societal awareness about what actually constitutes sexual assault.