Saturday, 2nd December 2023

6 famous sexual assault cases

Megastar turned pariah Bill Cosby, who goes on trial Monday for allegedly drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004, joins a growing list of famous men charged with a sex crime.

Bill Cosby and his attorney leave Allegheny County Courthouse after the third day of jury selection in his sexual assault trial on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Jury selection continues for the sexual assault trial of disgraced US megastar Bill Cosby, accused of plying a woman with pills and wine before assaulting her in 2004. / AFP PHOTO / Donald EMMERT AND Nate Smallwood

Megastar turned pariah Bill Cosby, who goes on trial Monday for allegedly drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004, joins a growing list of famous men charged with a sex crime.

Here are five other prominent men whose careers have been shattered or tainted by charges of sexual assault.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, once a Socialist frontrunner for the presidency, was forced to resign as IMF chief in 2011 after a hotel chambermaid accused him of sexual assault in New York. The charges were ultimately dropped and the affair ended with a confidential financial accord with his accuser.

In France, Strauss-Kahn went on trial for his alleged role in a prostitution ring, but was acquitted. He is now 68 years old.

Roman Polanski 
Oscar-winning French-Polish film director Roman Polanski is accused of raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer after a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson’s home in Los Angeles in 1977. Polanski was 43 at the time.

The director of “The Pianist”, “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” admitted statutory rape, or unlawful sex with a minor, after more serious charges were dropped, and spent an initial 42 days in jail before being released.

But in 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, Polanski fled for France and has been on the run since.

Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 on a US extradition request and spent 10 months under house arrest before Bern rejected the US order.

The United States then asked Poland to extradite Polanski in 2015, but the country’s Supreme Court ruled that he had served his time under the plea deal.

In April, a judge in Los Angeles threw out a motion from Polanski, now 83, seeking assurances that he can return to the United States without fear of being jailed.

 Michael Jackson 
The “King of Pop,” who died in June 2009 after receiving an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, faced multiple allegations of child sex abuse during his lifetime.

In the 2003 British TV documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” the singer claimed never to have abused a child, merely to having shared his bed.

Jackson was acquitted of abuse at a 2005 trial in California, but his career never recovered. He had earlier paid a $15 million court settlement in 1994 over allegations involving another child.

Jimmy Savile 
Jimmy Savile, one of Britain’s biggest television stars in the 1970s and 1980s, was exposed after his death as a prolific sexual abuser, with hundreds of reports of alleged abuse, including from patients a high-security psychiatric hospital.

Savile, who died in October 2011 at the age of 84, used his fame as presenter of BBC TV’s “Top of the Pops” chart show and children’s program “Jim’ll Fix It” to rape and assault victims on BBC premises as well as in schools and hospitals.

Figures from children’s charity the NSPCC show that the most common age group for his victims was between 13 to 15, and the scandal threw the BBC into crisis.

– Moshe Katsav –
Israel’s former president Moshe Katsav, 71, was convicted in December 2010 on two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

He served five years of a seven-year sentence before being released last December.

The Iranian-born bureaucrat, who rose from impoverished origins as a child immigrant, became the first former president to be jailed in Israel since its creation in 1948.