Justice is long overdue

To the Editor:
It’s no surprise that Albany County district Attorney David Soares lacked the courage to prosecute former Governor Andrew Cuomo for “forcible touching” of Brittany Commisso, but it is an outrage. Mr. Soares is not alone in viewing Ms. Commisso as “credible.”

Sheriff Craig Apple, two other district attorneys, the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, and the state attorney general all believed her.  If all these people believed her, why did Mr. Soares assume a jury would not?

It is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to report that they were revictimized by the system that was supposed to protect them. That is clearly the case here.

When Brittany Commisso filed the charges against the most powerful man in New York State, she had to know that she would be trashed. But she had the courage and integrity to speak out. She was, still is, and I believe will continue to be trashed with allegations that border on ridiculous.

For example, Mr. Cuomo testified during the attorney general’s investigation that Ms. Commisso had been “flirtatious.” Seriously? Even if this dubious allegation were true, “flirting” does not constitute consent and does not justify the most powerful man in New York State groping her breast.

The “what she was wearing” defense was brought to a new level of absurdity by Mr. Cuomo and his attorney by pointing out that Ms. Commisso could not remember what she was wearing at the time. I confess that I don’t remember what I was wearing yesterday.

It is worth noting that Ms. Commisso had not been suing for money. It was clear that what she wanted was justice. What she has been getting is injustice.

Mr. Soares has invited other victims to seek injustice. Specifically, he said: “I encourage victims of workplace harassment and abuse to continue to come forward and bring these issues to light so that these important discussions can continue.”

Really? The time is long past for “discussions” and justice is long overdue. Ms. Commisso correctly pointed out that “the district attorney’s decision to decline prosecution of the former governor offers an example of why many victims of sexual harassment remain silent.” But she is still speaking out.

Brittany Commisso is an awesome role model for women and girls. She is a hero. In one of her television interviews, she said: “I have a voice and I am going to use it.” She has been using it eloquently. This letter is my small attempt to use mine.

Carol Waterman


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