At long last, a serial predator has been found guilty, and a serial killer has been identified decades after both of these predators committed their first crimes. These two acts of justice were set into motion by determined women who acted as catalysts in the quest of holding figures of authority responsible for their misdoings.
As a once-beloved icon of American television, Bill Cosby carried an enormous amount of influence, making him a particularly tricky figure to take down. But if Harvey Weinstein served as any indication, no matter the enormity of the influence or the zeros in the movie studio paychecks, Hollywood hotshots can turn into figures of infamy. With his legacy successfully obliterated, Cosby has finally gotten what he deserved on the legal side of things. After 14 hours of deliberation, Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in his sexual assault retrial — after over five dozen women shared their stories of assault, abuse and misconduct with the public. Though nothing can be done to make up for what these woman already had taken from them, hopefully this verdict gives them some peace of mind. Likewise it should serve as a warning for other Hollywood predators: nobody is untouchable.
Meanwhile, a story breaking just two days prior revealed that after more than four decades of unsuccessful search, cops have identified ex-cop Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer — the man responsible for a brutal series of assaults, rapes and murders in the 1970s and 1980s. He was taken into custody on Tuesday, April 24, after not a single suspect was even identified by the police in the past forty years. The renewed interest in the case is thanks to a series by HLN, as well as the tremendous journalist detailing of the late Michelle McNamara in her posthumous book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.”
The book was finished and published thanks to the efforts of McNamara’s widower, comedian Patton Oswalt. McNamara had spent the final years of her life chronicling the story surrounding the Golden State Killer in the hope of identifying him once and for all. Her quest finally came to fruition with the identification of the DeAngelo following the book’s official drop, leading McNamara to have aided in accomplishing an act of justice in a case that teams of detectives couldn’t solve over multiple decades.
This is not women against men. This is not the rise of the men-hating sisterhood who wants to tarnish all males in the quest for a female-driven world. This is good old-fashioned justice, as oppressed parties refuse to accept abuse. But remember, assault comes in all forms from all walks of life, and it is important that we fight it with legal justice and not hidden agendas.
These cases stand as proof that the justice system and police are capable of handing out punishment for crimes. Yes, it took far too long, and surely not everyone will be satisfied with the verdicts and sentences, but the justice system does not always fail. Trials by social media are dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention a violation of our rights as Americans — innocent until proven guilty. Along with bringing much needed justice and reckoning, hopefully such cases will restore fail in legal processes so that the next time accusations spring up, they can be handled by the police rather than by anonymous fingers clacking away behind screens. I have faith that such widespread fear of speaking up against an accuser will become an antiquated concept, but it is also important to give people a fair trial.
The verdict for Bill Cosby? Much needed justice. And thank you to the tireless efforts of those who feel the need to seek the truth, such as the late McNamara, for helping lessen the amount of evil that is allowed to freely operate in this world.
Emma Polini is the managing editor of the Van Alstyne Leader, Anna-Melissa Tribune and Prosper Press. What do you want in your paper? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know.