Power and influence may no longer equal invincibility for men accused of sexual misconduct. This was proven now, as Harvey Weinstein was found guilty and convicted Monday of one count of committing a criminal sexual act and one count of rape.
“For once, he won’t be sitting comfortably,” said Rose McGowan. She claimed Weinstein raped her in 1997. “For once, he will know what it’s like to have power wrapped around his neck.”
Weinstein, who has denied all accusations despite claims of sexual assault and misconduct from more than 80 women since 2017, faces up to 29 years in prison. Weinstein’s attorneys have said they will appeal.
“Rape is rape, and sexual assault is sexual assault, no matter what. Rape is rape, whether it’s committed by a stranger in a dark alley or by an intimate partner in a relationship.” Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance Jr. told reporters after the verdict. “It’s rape, whether it’s committed by an indigent person or a man of immense power, prestige, and privilege.”
The longer his sexual assault trial went on, the more confident Harvey Weinstein appeared.
The convictions stemmed from the accusations of two women. They said Weinstein used his influence in Hollywood to lure them into hotel rooms or his flat, and he violently molested them.
Mimi Haley, a former producer on “Project Runway,” said she visited Weinstein’s SoHo flat in 2006. She tried to repair their broken professional relationship. But he became aggressive and forced sexual perversion on her. Jessica Mann, a once-aspiring actress said she was in an accordant but abusive relationship with Weinstein. But he showed up unexpectedly at a Midtown Manhattan hotel in 2013 and violently raped her.
Weinstein avoided a possible life sentence once the jury acquitted him of 2 counts of predatory sexual assault. That charge would have needed jurors to convict him of assaulting Haley or Mann and former “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra.
Sciorra had accused Weinstein of barging into her Gramercy Park apartment within the early 1990s and violently raping her. It happened after the two attended a business dinner. While some legal consultants considered Sciorra the prosecution’s strongest witness, her case was too old to prosecute. Weinstein’s attorneys often pounced on the actual fact that she couldn’t remember the exact year the alleged attack happened.
“My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty-plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart.” Sciorra said in a statement Monday after the verdict.
Victims of sexual violence met news of the verdict with a mix of relief and shock.
“This is a huge day. I’m crying right now because I expected the worst,” said Zoe Brock. She is a New Zealand-born former model who has accused Weinstein of rape and was among six women who filed a class-action suit in 2017 against Weinstein and the studio he co-founded. “Because for us, the worst keeps happening. In Hollywood, especially for sexual assault victims, the worst keeps happening.”