Bill Cosby has been famous for as long as I can remember. My aunt used to have several of his comedy albums that my sister and I used to enjoy listening to- we would laugh and laugh. I can remember Fat Albert and numerous television specials. Then of course there was the 80's when the Cosby show was on. He endorsed Jello, Kodak, Coca Cola and many other programmes. For many years he was known as America's Dad. In 1990 I even went to see him in performance in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
However about 10 years ago (or maybe a bit longer, I can't remember exactly when), I began to hear stories of how he was a sexual predator. I can remember being shocked the first time I heard the allegations (he seemed so nice as a celebrity), but as many allegations began to spring up- more than 60 in all- I realised that there was a much more sinister side to this man. Today he has been sentenced to three to ten years in prison for acts against one woman- the other charges were too old to be tried.
Mr. Cosby isn't the first image that I would have come up with if someone asked me to describe a sexual predator. He was funny, someone who through my television I had invited into my home, and he seemed to be a keen observer of society. He wasn't a man who wore a black balaclava and stood in dark alleys who attacked women. He was our friend. Yet he has now been tried and sentenced for his heinous acts. He was not just a nice guy anymore.
Many people will blame the victims. Why did they not come forward before? Why wasn't justice involved before?
In the same way US Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was thought to be a shoe in to be a new judge of that body. But now there have been at least two allegations of sexual assault have been made against him. Many government members are saying- but he believes in the things that we do. We can't believe he did these things. Why weren't these old cases tried before? Obviously these women are lying.
The church (and I mean all denominations and not any particular congregation) has not been immune from these nice guys who have preyed on others. People put their trusts in the priests, ministers, church employees. How could they betray us like that? It just couldn't be.
But the fact is, unfortunately, evil does abound. I don't say this to make us fearful of others. I don't say this so that we lose faith in institutions. Rather I say it so we ensure that institutions mandate and enforce screening processes for all employees. I say this so that we do hear the voices of victims rather than saying, "Oh that is so in so, Wilbur's boy, he could not have done that." I don't say this to ruin the reputation of others, but those who are famous should be held up to the same level of scrutiny of others. No one should be able to abuse their power, their celebrity status, their wealth to hurt someone else. Caring for each other means making the world safe for all. Blessings.