A recent NBC article by journalists Elisha Fieldstadt and Ari Melber details how Bill Cosby is now countersuing 7 of his alleged victims for defamation and emotional duress. Over 50 women have now come forward to accuse him. Could they all be delusional? Could they be part of a decades-old character assassination conspiracy designed to detonate now? Unlikely at best. And he’s only suing 7 of them, a move most likely calculated to exact revenge for their speaking out.
Too often defenders of sexual assailants wax indignant about how the accused is a so-called pillar of the community, touting examples of their charitable works and clean records. And that may be true in some cases—but being an outwardly charitable or upstanding person doesn’t preclude criminal behavior.
Perhaps the most egregious example of a trusted pillar of society falling from grace is Daniel Holtzclaw, the disgraced Oklahoma cop who faced rape and sexual assault charges this week. He’s worse than Cosby because he used his authority as a police officer to exact a pattern of sexual assault. According to a CNN article by Michael Martinez and Jethro Mullen, Holtzclaw handpicked victims who were poor black women with prior records. He knew that would guarantee their silence. And it did—but not for long.
Thirteen women came forward to accuse Holtzclaw of sexual assault, and a jury has recommended 263 years in prison for his crimes. His official sentencing is scheduled for January. We can only hope this abuser of authority will get what he deserves. Cosby abused his power as a cultural authority—his accusers have yet to have their day in court. With any luck, his jury’s recommendation will be reminiscent of the one who meted justice to Holtzclaw.