Factbox: Two years of #MeToo in the courts


FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein exits the New York Criminal Court after his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

(Reuters) – Since the #MeToo movement rose to global prominence in October 2017, several high-profile criminal cases have been brought alleging sexual misconduct going back years or even decades. Below is a look at some of those cases:

– Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surrendered to police in Manhattan in May 2018 after being charged with sexually assaulting two women. The charges came after dozens of women in Hollywood accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct going back decades. Weinstein, who has denied any non-consensual sex, went to trial this week, the culmination of the most closely watched case linked to #MeToo.

– Comedian Bill Cosby was tried in April 2018 for sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in December 2015. A previous trial over the same allegations ended in a hung jury. During the second trial, a Pennsylvania judge allowed several women other than Constand to testify to show a pattern of similar assaults. A jury convicted Cosby in April 2018, and he was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison.

-Financier Jeffrey Epstein was arrested last July and accused of trafficking dozens of girls for sex, after previously avoiding federal prosecution through a 2007 plea deal that was widely viewed as too lenient. Epstein, who had pleaded not guilty, killed himself in jail in August. Since then, his estate has been sued by more than 20 women who say he sexually abused them. Lawyers for the estate have floated the idea of creating an independently administered victim compensation fund, but the women who have sued him have not agreed to this proposal.

-R&B singer R. Kelly was charged by Illinois state prosecutors in February 2019 with sexually assaulting four people, including three teenage girls. He was arrested again in July after he was charged in two new federal indictments in Chicago and New York with sex trafficking, racketeering and other crimes. Prosecutors in New York said he and his entourage ran a scheme to bring underage girls to him, controlling what they ate and when they went to the bathroom. In August, Kelly was charged in yet another case with soliciting sex from a minor by state prosecutors in Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

-Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was charged in June with forcible touching and sexual abuse after a woman accused him of touching her breasts in a Manhattan nightclub. He has since been charged over similar accusations by two other women, and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Gooding’s trial date has not been set. His lawyer, Mark Heller, has publicly said he is starting “the Not Me movement” for men wrongly accused of sexual misconduct.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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