Bringing Cosby to Justice: The First Conviction in the #MeToo Era Part I

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Duration
90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 7, 2021

Kristen Gibbons-Feden
Kristen Gibbons-Feden, Esq.
Litigation Associate Attorney, Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young
M. Stewart Ryan, Esq.
Associate Attorney, Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP

The first high-profile sexual assault prosecution in the #MeToo era spanned more than three years from the re-opening of the investigation to sentencing. Now, the sexually violent predator sits in a cell. In the three years it took to investigate and convict Cosby there were two trials, an endless line of criminal defense attorneys, and many highs and lows. During this plenary session you will hear from the two prosecutors who took on “America’s Dad” as they discuss and analyze the case’s impact on the world today. Particularly, the discussion will focus on the debunking of popular rape myths, assessing and advocating for the credibility of survivors, the shortcomings of prompt complaint jury instructions, and having the courage to take on the big case.

An examination of this complex prosecution has special meaning in a world where powerful men are finally being held to account for what is often years or decades of sexual abuse. Since Cosby’s arrest, conviction, and sentencing, jurisdictions across the country have built similar cases such as those involving movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and music artist R. Kelly. This plenary will draw parallels between these high-profile prosecutions and give the audience an understanding of what to expect and how traditional roadblocks in such cases may be avoided.

Objectives

As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Define and recognize common “rape myths” so as to formulate legally and logically sound responses to rebut the underlying false premise of each myth.
  • Identify factors that should and should not be used when assessing the credibility of a survivor of sexual assault. 
  • Examine and explain why “prompt complaint” jury instructions should be modified or rescinded.
  • Describe differences and similarities between the Cosby prosecution and other high-profile prosecutions in the #MeToo Era.


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