As more and more allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein surface, the big question is whether he can be charged with sexual assault. Some of the alleged sexual assaults occurred more than 30 years ago, raising questions about whether the statute of limitations could come into play.
The short answer is yes. The long answer is it depends on the New York District Attorney and United Kingdom Department of Justice. In New York, where most of the alleged assaults occurred, there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault or rape. In London, where some other alleged assaults occurred there is also no statute of limitations for sex crimes except for alleged consensual sex between children ages 13-15 that occurred between 1956 and 2004. Given that there is no statute of limitations for sex crimes in either location where the alleged assault occurred, Weinstein could be charged if investigators find any evidence to support the claims made by the alleged assault victims. It is important to note that the New York District Attorney’s office chose not to charge Weinstein in 2015 when he allegedly groped Italian model Ambra Battilana.
There is also a potential for civil suits against Weinstein from accusers, and Weinstein has also threatened to sue the New York Times for their involvement in reporting and investigating the initial allegations. Weinstein has been fired from the Weinstein Company, and his membership at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is also at risk, as it’s board of governors is meeting tomorrow to decide whether to remove him from the institution. As the case develops, our complete report on the findings of investigators and all the allegations against him will be updated. It will be released once law enforcement in London, Dublin or New York confirms the allegations and releases their report(s) on their findings.
Cover Photo Courtesy of The New Yorker Magazine.