Editorial: Harvey Weinstein’s trial shows that perpetrators can be held accountable for sexual assault


MADISON, Wis. — The guilty verdicts handed down by jurors in the sex crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein feel historically significant in their precedence.

A message has been sent. A legal line has been drawn in the sand. The question that must be answered next is if the message has been received.

Some stories about the verdicts used the term sexual misconduct rather than assault, or rape, suggesting ongoing uncertainty over how to describe the behavior, to a degree minimizing its impact. And for all the impact the #Me Too movement has had it is still subject to backlash. And of course there is the current occupant of the White House and the attitudes and behaviors those like him accept and enable.

Never the less prosecutors in New York charged crimes once thought too hard to prove and jurors validated that decision. Sexual assault is a crime and perpetrators can be held accountable. If not culture change it’s a step in the right direction.