What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
March 13, 2015
There’s been a lot of press lately about Bill Cosby. Recently, a number of women have come forward claiming that at some time in the past, Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted them. Actually, quite a number have come forward with similar accusations.
The fallout from this is that a large number of people have called for Mr. Cosby’s shows to be cancelled, and a number of venues have done just that. When asked to comment in his defense, Mr. Cosby has remained silent, much to the disappointment of many.
I have a number of problems with this situation.
First of all, a number of women have waited for thirty or forty years before coming forth with their accusations. They say that the alleged abuse actually took place in the sixties and the seventies. Why did they wait so long? Now I cannot begin to understand what it must be like to undergo such a traumatic experience, but forty years does seem like an awfully long time to wait before reporting a crime against ones’ person. I’m left to wonder if perhaps there’s another reason why they waited so long, although I can’t for the life of me imagine what that could be.
My main concern with this whole sad tale is the way that Mr. Cosby has been vilified in the media and on line. What ever happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty?’ I thought our system of jurisprudence guaranteed that? It appears that it is no longer so. Thousands of people have decided without a fair trial that Mr. Cosby is in fact guilty of these crimes, and I’m not saying that he isn’t, but how come he’s not allowed his day in court? Why do people think they have the right to demand that his career be ended by cancelling his upcoming performances? This is just another form of vigilantism, ala social media. Keep in mind, it’s an unjust court that will only hear one side of the testimony, and Mr. Cosby is right to wait until he stands before a judge to tell his side of the story.
Now, dear reader, I don’t want you to misunderstand me; I’m not a misogynist; I’m not saying that these women are wrong and that Mr. Cosby is innocent. I’m only saying that in a just society, everyone should reserve judgement until all of the facts have been presented. If Mr. Cosby is guilty, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law. If he is innocent, then society as a whole should vindicate him fully.
Ultimately, if what these women are saying is true and they have been violated, then I offer my sincerest sympathy to each and every one. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them; they certainly didn’t deserve to be mistreated or abused. Nobody does; whether physically, verbally, emotionally, or whatever form the abuse may take. Everyone, regardless of who they are, deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
And that goes for Mr. Cosby as well, since he has not yet been convicted of a crime.