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Opinion: Reversal in Harvey Weinstein case isn't the demise of sex crimes prosecution

·1 min


When a Manhattan jury found a movie mogul guilty of sex crimes in 2020, it seemed to signal a new era of accountability. However, last week’s decision by the New York Court of Appeals to overturn the conviction has brought this era to an end. The reversal was mainly due to allowing the testimony of women who were not victims of the charged crimes. The admissibility of a defendant’s history of misconduct, especially in cases of gender-based violence, is often a contentious issue. Additional victims’ testimonies in these cases can be crucial. The corroboration requirement for sexual assault cases has evolved over time, but credibility is still often reserved for those who come forward in numbers. The Weinstein case exemplified the effort to compensate for the credibility discount, but ultimately failed legally. Survivors face high barriers to belief, but progress is being made in understanding sexual misconduct. The use of sex crimes experts and their testimony can help combat the credibility discount. Requiring multiple accusers before any are believed is not a solution. Impunity for sexual abuse is a problem stemming from cultural doubt towards accusers. #