Diane Dimond: Nope, I won’t shut up
One reader wrote to tell me to, “Shut up! (and) butt out” of the sex scandal involving comedian Bill Cosby.
Jason S. wrote to say I was “reprehensible” for trying “someone in the court of public opinion,” even though nearly 30 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of various degrees of sexual assault. The last three surfaced earlier this week as I read my hate mail.
Madge DeFee and S. Freeman said it was obvious I was just trying to embarrass Mrs. Cosby by writing an open letter to her last week. In it I suggested that when she declared her husband was the victim she was not facing the truth about Bill’s past bad extra-marital behavior.
Roy Palmer declared on my Facebook page that, “All these claims have to be proved in court … I say prove him guilty 1st, not in the media.”
Don’t be naive, Roy. You can’t have a trial if the defendant pays his way out of trouble. And that’s precisely what Cosby did after a 2005 civil suit in which 14 women were set to testify about his sexual offenses. Out-of-court settlements always come with a promise of silence. Besides, the statue of limitations has run out on all but one of the women’s claims.
Reader Leslie Sewall wondered, “Where was the press all this time? It’s pretty shocking that none of this was taken seriously for so many years.” I agree.
Look, as a nation we cannot fail to continue the open dialogue about sex crimes and the ways in which sexual predators behave. There are way too many victims, and the aftereffects of this crime are often crippling, especially for young victims.
I will not shut up about it. Ever.
“It is especially heinous when you consider the young women were his children’s ages and gave him their full trust,” reader Pankaja Cauligi wrote.
Someone with the pen name Ar7wen sent this message: “It’s horrifying how much damage ONE sexual predator can do.”
Do some people file false sex assault claims? Yes. Case in point: High school football star Brian Banks, whose life was ruined after Wanetta Gibson cried rape. He spent five years in prison and lost football scholarships. She won $1.5 million from their California school district. Gibson ultimately admitted her lie and was recently ordered to pay $2.6 million in damages to Banks. He now has a coveted job with the National Football League.
I submit that Bill Cosby is no Brian Banks. And the women who have tearfully said they were manipulated, drugged and attacked by this famous man are nothing like Wanetta Gibson.
We must keep talking about sexual abuse, especially when it is perpetrated by those with influence and power. These are a special breed of predator who think nothing of using and discarding other human beings — girls, boys, women of varying ages. They hire attorneys, private detectives and publicists to cover up what they’ve done and scare victims into silence. They are confident criminals who believe they can forever quench their sick appetites because no one makes them stop.
Their victims are left diminished. Ashamed. Petrified of what will happen if they tell.
Bill Cosby has not been charged with any crime. His lawyers call it all “a lie.” But if even one of the almost 30 women who have tearfully come forward to relate their Cosby story is to be believed, he should have been. Criminal charges seem impossible now, but there may still be a legal way to get at the truth.
One woman, who says she was just 15 when Cosby raped her at the Playboy Mansion, has a civil suit pending. The California statute of limitations leaves wiggle room for those who were minors when an alleged crime took place. She claims her “mental anguish” and “significant problems throughout her life” are linked to the 1974 incident.
Three other women who broke their silence about unwanted relations with the comedian have banded together to file a defamation suit after they were branded as liars by Cosby’s lawyer and publicist.
Either suit could unravel the truth. And if Mr. Cosby is not guilty, you’d think he’d welcome a day in court. But I’m betting out-of-court settlements are being crafted right now. What does that tell you?
Nope. I won’t shut up. I won’t stop taking about this kind of crime, and that includes exposing family members who stay silent or even issue public words of support that only give the predator more power.
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