Bill Cosby Appeal Outcome Could Discourage Other Sex Assault, Rape Accusers

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Bill Cosby’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction—the first conviction of the #MeToo era—goes to court on Monday, and its outcome will also serve as a touchstone for future assault victims. The court will be considering several alleged trial errors; most crucially, the judge’s decision to allow five of Cosby’s accusers to testify against him. In Pennsylvania, where the case is playing out, the law rarely allows “prior bad act” testimony. The judge allowed the women to testify because their accounts had “chilling similarities” to his “signature” crime. Cosby’s defense argues that the women’s testimonies were solely used to “promote hysteria.”

The decision to allow the women to testify came months after a score of Harvey Weinstein accusers came forward, sparking the #MeToo movement. “This is such a high-profile case,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of the nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. “It’s particularly important if survivors around the country are watching it closely and making up their minds as to whether to come forward and report their assault to police. And so a bad verdict, or appeal in this case, could be really discouraging.”

Read it at AP News>

SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Audrey McNamara