NEW YORK – Today Cyrus Vance and his team decided not to oppose a motion to dismiss.
The prosecutor’s decision to abandon my client, Lucia Evans, does not invalidate the truth of her claims. It does speak to a system that needs to be reformed.
Let me be clear – the decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence, nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein. It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.
They used her. They had all the evidence they have now and they still put her through the torture of walking through the scene of the crime, handing over her therapy and medical records, undergoing their cross-examination for hours upon hours. Month after month. Lucia’s case deserves to be heard.
Instead of rising to the challenges of their mistakes, the DA jumped ship at the first opportunity. Vance has done this before, when powerful men have been accused of sex crimes, including Weinstein himself; throwing cooperative crime victims under the bus. It raises serious questions of bias.
People ask why survivors of sexual assault don’t come forward in the criminal system – this is why.
When making the self-sacrifice to participate in a criminal trial, survivors open their entire lives to scrutiny, lose their privacy, their obscurity, their time and are instructed to suffer quietly as defense attorneys attack them with the singular goal of getting them to shut up and go away. Victims are called liars, whores, evil, opportunists, and hysterical, pawns in a movement, and cowards for not reporting earlier. It’s always the same bag of tricks.
To survivors who are watching this – you are none of those things. Lucia Evans is none of those things. Her bravery encouraged dozens of survivors to come forward.
Ultimately, she was caught in the middle of a feud between the NYPD and the Manhattan DA that dates back to the 2015 sex crime allegations against Harvey Weinstein. A feud that so thoroughly undermined the perception of fairness that Governor Cuomo had to appoint the New York Attorney General to investigate.
Over 80 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. If our justice system fails to hold him criminally accountable, then something is wrong with our justice system. The problem is with the system. Not with the accusations. Not with the accusers.
The case against Harvey Weinstein is far from over. We expect the DA to move forward with the other cases. And Lucia will continue her fight in other venues. We ask that her privacy is respected.
Now, to survivors of sexual violence everywhere, even though things seem really dark, like justice is far, far away, please remember there is a reason why powerful abusers are scared and lashing out right now.
We are just starting to untangle the harm done from hundreds of years of sexual abuse, secrecy, shaming, and oppression. That is what scares men in power to silence accusers by saying this is a lynch mob, a witch hunt, “they’re coming for our boys.”
Their worst nightmare is a reality – women are coming forward and telling the truth. What the world must understand is that victims are not staying victims. Victims are becoming warriors. This is just the beginning.
For media looking for experts in criminal law and sexual violence, we suggest contacting:
Professor Mary Anne Franks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soraya Chemaly at email@example.com
Jasmin Rand, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org