The sight of the predator captured, fitted with an ankle bracelet, passport relinquished, charged with rape, brings catharsis but no joy. Simple justice for a man responsible for so much pain should never be this hard.
Harvey Weinstein turned himself in Friday for the reckoning with the law that this beast did everything in his vast power to prevent, done in by the women he terrorized for years, who one by one bravely stepped forward publicly to say #MeToo.
He inflicted emotional and physical agony on them by the dozens, their accounts leave little doubt, with impunity bought for a seeming eternity by his Hollywood wealth — which paid for victims’ silence and top-shelf lawyers — and his own bullying enforcement.
Women who did not succumb to his advances, many of them unknowns, some promising performers on the rise and on marquees, reliably found their Hollywood careers ruined.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could do nothing about vindictive mutterings. He shied from bringing charges in 2015, when a model named Ambra Battilana complained that Weinstein had groped her — and recorded him confessing to the act.
What’s past is past: Friday’s criminal charges in this ongoing investigation are devastating, serious, and likely provable to a jury.
Charge one: That in 2004, Weinstein physically forced a woman — previously revealed in press reports to be college student now named Lucia Evans — to perform oral sex on him in his office.
Charges two and three: That in 2013, at a Manhattan hotel, he forcibly raped an unconsenting woman. Weinstein, who pleaded not guilty, denies it all.
Vance could undoubtedly have brought more charges against Weinstein, involving more women who’ve alleged sexual assault by him, were it not for New York statutes of limitation that absurdly put strict deadlines on many non-forcible felony assaults — such as the kind Weinstein was known to specialize in, coerced through physical and emotional intimidation.
Indeed, for the 2004 incident, Vance will have to prove to a grand jury and then jury that Weinstein forced the sexual contact — otherwise, the statute of limitations could make sustaining a conviction nigh impossible.
Eliminating statutes of limitations on all felony sex crimes is an important battle to fight another day. Vance’s prosecutors have a long road ahead to prove their case against aggressive opposition, against the best lawyers money can buy.