Still Waiting for the Evidence

CBS Sunday Morning this week covered the Cosby allegations again and again slanted their coverage under the assumption that Cosby committed the crimes of which he stands accused. I have avoided talking about the rigmarole surrounding Bill Cosby because I feel all the evidence has yet to be uncovered. It is folly to offer a judgment in absence of all the facts. This is a primary principle of our criminal justice system and has served us well for more than two hundred years. Yet the media and many in society keep trying to dodge the issue of innocent until proven guilty in an effort to prove themselves correct in their assumptions on any given issue. This happened in the Michael Brown case so badly there that even once the justice system did weigh in, the media and the masses rebelled, declaring their judgment more sound than the law. Now Bill Cosby is facing allegations of sexual abuse spanning his entire career. More than thirty women have come forward to accuse the man once referred to as America’s favorite dad of one of the most heinous of crimes.

Let me predicate the rest of this as saying I do not know if Cosby is guilty. There is not enough evidence to prove his guilt, therefore there is no way to know. All we have is the word of several women who have waited in some cases more than forty years to come forward with these charges. That fact alone makes the charges suspicious. Add that none of them came forward until this year and all of the sudden there are thirty accusers makes the whole scenario suspect.

If a woman wishes to charge someone with rape, that woman—via the state—must have proof beyond the shadow of a doubt that the crime did take place and that the accused committed that crime. Not one of these women has any proof. None. No evidence exists that any crime even occurred. Only one accusation claims the crime occurred within the statute of limitations, so even if the accusations were true, no prosecution can be filed.

All that exists is the word of thirty or so women. Now, for many people, that is enough. One person making an accusation in the absence of evidence can be dismissed. Thirty people making the same accusation gives the accusation more weight. Unfortunately, the multiple accusers are not referencing the same incident, therefore they are not corroborating each other’s testimony. They are all making their own accusations of actions on different occasions at different locations under different circumstances.

I find it difficult to believe that a man, no matter how famous, could be a serial rapist and not have been discovered at the time he commits the crimes. Everyone who hears the allegations automatically believes them, however, because in our modern politically correct society, everyone is expected to defer to the perceived victim in these cases. The Rolling Stone magazine published an account of a self-proclaimed rape victim without investigating the claims. This supported a narrative of “America’s Rape Culture” that is permeating the media, and was too juicy and too salacious to bother checking the facts. There are many men and boys who have their lives ruined by false accusations because of society’s rush to judgment concerning rape. The crime has risen above other crimes in that its very mention evokes anger and a rush to judgment that larceny, embezzling, blackmail, fraud and even murder to not engender. The only crimes that are on parity with rape for such automatic belief is parental kidnapping—which I do not view as a crime in most cases—where the accused is automatically presumed guilty.

I don’t know Bill Cosby. I’ve never met the man, even though I always thought I’d like to. He has always seemed so approachable. What I know of him comes from the media and his vast repertoire of work. He dropped out of school, attempted the military, went back to school and got a degree in physical education. He started his show business career as a standup comic and quickly amassed a following in a day and age when black artists found it all but impossible to break into the limelight. He made money. He garnered praise. He became famous. Now, call me misogynistic, but those three traits alone are enough to attract any number of women, especially in the 60’s with the drugs and sex that permeated the club scene.

Did he have sex with several women? Almost assuredly. Again, I don’t know, there is no proof, but it seems very likely. Did he have to drug the women? I seriously doubt it. Again, with all he had going for him, it seems unlikely he would have to resort to such nefarious tricks to get satisfaction. Did he anger the women he slept with? Again, almost assuredly; and again, I don’t know for sure. Many of the women who clustered in his orbit did so hoping to ride his coat tails into fame and fortune as well. When that didn’t happen, it is not a hard stretch to imagine they developed a grudge; a grudge that festered for almost forty years.

Whether or not he had sex with any of these women is not the issue. The question of whether the women were willing participants is the question for the courts. The real question is why wait forty years to file a complaint, when the statute of limitations has made a criminal case moot. The answer to that is easy, though. Criminal cases mean jail, while civil cases mean money. Which one will appeal to most of these “victims?”

Now Cosby is trying to make a living and finding an increasing challenge in doing so. His TV projects have been cancelled by the networks. He is trying to do the job that we as a nation have supported for more than forty years. Yet now his shows are picketed by rape activists. As if watching a comedian is supporting rape. Some patrons have reported being verbally assaulted by the picketers both going in and coming out of the theater. Media personalities have spoken out against Cosby as if they were a judge passing sentence. All of these actions are grossly unfair.

Even if the women are telling the truth and Bill Cosby is a serial rapist unlike the world has ever seen, or even if they are all liars and trying to carve a bit of cash out of a man whose career is almost over like a bunch of vultures picking over a wildebeest, the biggest crime is not either case. The biggest crime is how we as a nation are abandoning the principles upon which our nation was founded to engage in a media-driven frenzy. We are throwing out due process in a rush to judge a man without all the evidence. In the absence of evidence, we are compelled by justice to presume innocence, even if it galls us to do so.

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2 Comments

Filed under Media, Society

2 responses to “Still Waiting for the Evidence

  1. georgefinnegan

    The ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle is something the government has to uphold, since it has the power to deprive citizens of their freedom. It may be noble for society to think the same way, but here isn’t any requirement for it to do so. As long as people in society don’t break the law by depriving a suspected rapist of his or her rights, there’s no reason to complain. Cosby’s still a free man. He’s not likely to go to jail. The only difference is, now, fewer people like him. They heckle him and don’t associate with him. Free speech and right of freedom of association – the government can’t right a law that will force people to hang with him or prevent them from speaking their minds. That’s just the way it is and, in reality, it’s justice – just not the government sponsored justice you seem to want to exclusively honor.

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    • Justice should be meted out based on the same presumption of innocence the courts use, particularly when the consequences involve a person’s well-being. It is one thing to say “I don’t like so-in-so,” it is another thing entirely to actively campaign to ruin that person’s life based on nothing more than innuendo or hearsay.
      Everyone should feel free to speak their minds, yes, but they should do so responsibly and with the understanding that their beliefs may be based on inaccurate information.

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