Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, convicted last month in New York of sexually assaulting two women who aspired to careers in his field, has been sentenced to what probably will be the rest of his life in prison. This is being celebrated as a victory for the “me too” movement, the uprising of hundreds of thousands of women who have been assaulted, harassed, or extorted by powerful men but who have not complained about it or who have complained but not been believed.
But the movement already has forfeited its victory by inducing state legislatures to repeal or greatly extend statutes of limitations for sexual misconduct charges, thereby allowing people to bring charges many years after the purported offenses. This enables more predators like Weinstein, who seems to have victimized women for decades before he first was publicly accused. Only then did dozens of other women accuse him, though time had expired for adjudication of their charges.
That is, the failure of Weinstein’s many victims to call the police on him convinced him that he could make a career of preying on women. His victims kept silent in fear of him or in the hope that, in exchange for their sexual favors on the notorious “casting couch,” he would make them stars. Thus they facilitated the assault, harassment, and extortion of others.
Repealing or extending statutes of limitations ratifies all that and denies that crime victims have a duty to come forward promptly.
Of course the longer accusations are delayed, the harder they are to prove as evidence deteriorates and the motives of accusers are more easily challenged. That’s why statutes of limitations were enacted, being considered basic to due process of law. But now political correctness maintains that people charging sexual assault must be believed automatically even 20, 30, or 40 years later, as if by that time any sexual encounter really can be proved or disproved.
The message the Weinstein case sends to victims of sexual assault, harassment, or extortion is not so much that the powerful can be brought to justice as that victims are welcome to delay and diminish justice as much as they want. Twenty-three years in prison for a 68-year-old man who was convicted for only two assaults when he probably committed dozens of assaults and extortions over several decades isn’t really much of a sentence. And political correctness is running so hot in Connecticut that, in the name of giving a “clean slate” to paroled criminals, they soon may enjoy state government’s erasure of the records of the same crimes Weinstein committed.
This is no victory for victims of sexual assault. This mocks them.
Tax increases mainly fund raises
Nearly every year in Connecticut brings raises for state and municipal government employees as well as tax increases for the public. That’s because the government employees are unionized, their compensation depends on politics, and their unions strive to control the state administration through the majority political party.
Meanwhile ordinary taxpayers are unorganized politically, earn their incomes outside politics, and are generally dense. Their political leaders don’t make them any smarter. Few political leaders explain that, especially at the municipal level, most increases in taxes are used only to increase compensation for government employees even as every tax increase is a pay cut for those not in government employ.
So government should pay raises only when taxes are not being raised and public services are being improved, not liquidated. But taxes in Connecticut probably will keep going up and raises paid even as the virus epidemic causes half the taxpayers to be laid off.