Saturday, November 29, 2014

When Mob Rule Overwhelms the Rule of Law: The Online Court of Public Opinion on the Sexual Accusations Against Bill Cosby

The Cosby Show: Due Process is the victim here, November 29, 2014
This column is not a defense of Cosby but a reminder of our rule of law.
By Kathleen Parker

By now, most Americans probably have formed an opinion about what comedian Bill Cosby did or didn’t do sexually to or with at least 16 women beginning in the 1960s. 

According to several women who have accused him of sexual predations, Cosby’s usual modus operandi was to drug women who were with him voluntarily and then force sexual acts upon them. 

We know these things based mostly on the women’s media interviews. Five revealed their identities and talked openly in The Washington Post’s exhaustive story of the history and allegations. 

Even so, these are accusations rather than confirmable facts as required in a true court of law. Otherwise, there’s no real evidence — no tapes or letters. No rape kits or photographs. One woman once did file charges against Cosby, but that case was settled. 

Josh Gravens, Registry Advocate: “This is what I do,” …..“I provide a perspective that no one has provided before”

Josh Gravens and his family in October 2012
This is not the first time I’ve posted an article (see below) about Josh Gravens'. 

Earlier posts:
He is an inspiration for advocacy and every time I read a new article about him, I become more determined to reform the laws, policies, attitudes and processes here in Virginia. 

Josh’s own words (in the title of this post) really hit home because it’s 100% me. 

This is what I do, I provide a perspective that no one [in Virginia] has provided before. 

I have provided a face, a name, a story on what rewriting our laws, redefining our crimes, lowering the burden of proof, extending the time on the Virginia Registry, piling on additional restrictions (retroactively) year after year has really done not just to the one labeled Sex Offender, but to their family members, room-mates, neighbors, employers , parishioners and society as a whole. And it has made a difference over the last 6 years in the Commonwealth. 
Facts over Fear and Hate!

Keep up the great work Josh! 

Mary Devoy

Inmate rights advocate hopes his story changes minds, November 29, 2014
By Matthew Watkins

Josh Gravens’ résumé is long and scattered: He has herded goats at a farm and repaired wind turbines in West Texas. He has peddled pest control, firewood and Christmas trees. 

But he hasn’t done any of those things for long — it’s hard to keep a job when you’re a registered sex offender.

Now the 28-year-old Dallas resident, who is on the registry for an offense he committed when he was 12, has found a vocation he hopes to keep. For more than a year, he has advocated full-time for prisoners and convicts in Texas. 

In recent months, Gravens has stood before the Dallas City Council urging it to reject a proposal to ban registered sex offenders from areas where children congregate. He has helped organize a rally at the Texas Capitol for hundreds of former inmates and their families. And he has brought journalists to Dallas police headquarters to learn about the sex offender registry.