Harvey Weinstein Gets 23 Years For Sexual Assault and Rape

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping a woman and sexually assaulting another. During the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers attempted to argue that the sexual encounters were consensual. The jury didn’t buy it, however, finding that Weinstein abused his power and committed rape. 

“Weinstein verdict and sentencing confirm that there is no consensual sex where such an imbalance of power exists,” says Christopher Lowe, co-founder of Lipsky Lowe, LLP.

This case highlights how no woman should be subjected to sexual assault or harassment and that perpetrators, no matter how powerful, will be prosecuted. If you have been victimized by sexual assault or harassment in the workplace, it takes a skilled employment lawyer to fight for your rights. 

Compelling Testimony By Weinstein’s Victims

Weinstein was facing a maximum of 29 years after he was found guilty of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape. He was acquitted of the most serious offense, predatory sexual assault, which could have led to life in prison. Given his age (68) and declining health, 23 years may in fact be a life sentence. 

The case centered on two of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein’s legacy of sexual misconduct: Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann. Their compelling testimonies helped to get Weinstein convicted; they also gave emotional impact statements in court before the judge rendered his sentence. 

Haley, a former production assistant with Weinstein Productions, testified that he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006; Mann testified that Weinstein raped her in 2013. Weinstein’s lawyers claimed, unsuccessfully, that the two women invited the conduct. 

During her impact statement, Haley asked the judge to impose a sentence long enough for Weinstein to acknowledge sexually assaulting her and the other women. Mann also asked the judge to give him the maximum sentence so that he would acknowledge his crimes.

“The impact of rape is profound,” Mann said

Weinstein also addressed the court before the judge delivered his sentence, saying he was “remorseful,” but that he was “totally confused” by how Haley and Mann described their relationships with him. Weinstein insists these encounters were nothing more than “extra-marital affairs.”

Why This Matters

Harvey Weinstein’s conviction and lengthy prison sentence comes in the wake of the #Me Too movement, which has shined a light on sexual assault and harassment. Given that Weinstein’s conduct involved work-related relationships, employers in New York should pay close attention to the outcome of this trial. This is because they can be held liable for sexual misconduct, whether it be assault or harassment, that occurs in the workplace. 

Similarly, while women are often reluctant to report sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation, Weinstein’s conviction is a sign that the tables are turning. The powerful will be held to account for victimizing the powerless. Ultimately, it takes a skilled sexual harassment attorney to ensure that all work environments are free of sexual abuse and harassment.

Posted in: Sexual Harassment

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