CA--The Cosby new revelations: Three “take aways” from SNAP
For immediate release: Monday, July 6
Thanks to civil litigation and brave victims, more truth is finally emerging about the horrendous acts of Bill Cosby. We’re grateful a courageous woman sued him in 2005. We’re grateful to the Associated Press for seeking the truth. And we’re grateful that a judge has unsealed this damaging deposition of Cosby from that suit.
There are three “take-aways” here.
First, gradually judges are putting the actual safety of the public ahead of the perceived privacy of the criminals. We welcome this trend. In 2001 in Massachusetts, a judge took a similar stand, releasing long-sealed lawsuits against predator priests. That ruling led to many people being much safer from predator clerics. It also helped deter some future cover ups of clergy sex crimes.
We hope more journalists will consider taking similar action against other alleged rapists and sex offenders. We hope more judges will be open to such pleas so that predators are exposed and others are safeguarded.
Second, it’s easy and tempting to question the motives, and even attack, lawyers and victims who sue powerful individuals and institutions in cases of sexual violence. But these new revelations again show the value of civil litigation in exposing the truth, especially when archaic, predator-friendly laws and restrictive statutes of limitations prevent criminal prosecution. We hope lawmakers realize that reforming these statutes – criminally and civilly – means all of us will be safer.
Third, since many of us have secrets, it’s easy and tempting to automatically side with an alleged wrongdoer who claims, in a court case, that their privacy should be protected. But these new revelations show that our concern for individual privacy must be carefully balanced with our concern for crime prevention.
Those who care about the safety of the young, the innocent and the vulnerable should keep pushing to have Cosby criminally charged. But even if that never happens, we believe that strong and persistent victims can continue to show the world how sick he is. And in doing so, they can also perhaps reduce some of our society’s tropes about greedy trial lawyers and increase the pace of reforming laws on sexual violence.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)