Former ‘Sopranos’ actress tells jury Weinstein raped her nearly 30 years ago

UNTV News   •   January 24, 2020   •   394

Actress Annabella Sciorra (C) arrives to testify as a witness in the sexual assault trial of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at New York State Supreme Court in New York, New York, USA, 23 January 2020. The trial, which is expected to last for about eight weeks, is based on sexual assault and rape allegations of two separate women. To the right of Sciorra is Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, the prosecutor in the case. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

New York – In dramatic testimony Thursday in Harvey Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial in New York, American actress Annabella Sciorra told the jury that the disgraced Hollywood producer pushed his way into her apartment and raped her nearly 30 years ago.

“He got on top of me and he raped me,” the 59-year-old Sciorra testified in New York’s State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Although her specific allegations are too old to be prosecuted, Sciorra was called to testify as part of prosecutors’ attempt to show a pattern of predatory behavior on the part of the defendant.

Sciorra, who is best known for her role in the acclaimed crime drama television series “The Sopranos,” said that the incident occurred in late 1993 or early 1994 after she, Weinstein and several other people had dined at a restaurant in New York City.

After the dinner, Weinstein offered to drive her back to her apartment in Manhattan’s upscale Gramercy neighborhood and she accepted.

She testified that their conversation in the car was not sexual in nature and that after he dropped her off she went up to her apartment.

Her voice cracking on the witness stand, Sciorra said that while she was getting ready for bed she heard someone knocking.

She said Weinstein was standing at the entrance when she opened the door and immediately pushed his way inside and then started walking around to “see if there was somebody else there.”

Sciorra said she realized his intentions when he started unbuttoning his shirt and tried to flee to the bathroom but that it was too late.

Weinstein grabbed the front of her nightgown, she testified, and “led me into the bedroom, which was the next room over to the bathroom, and he shoved me on the bed.”

The actress, who said she stands just 5-foot-2 (1.57 meters) and weighed 110 pounds (50 kilos) at the time, testified that Weinstein grabbed her hands and held them firmly over her head.

“He put his penis inside my vagina and he had intercourse with me as I tried to fight,” she testified. “But I couldn’t fight anymore because he had my hands blocked.”

Weinstein ejaculated on her leg before forcibly performing oral sex on her, she testified.

Sciorra admitted to jurors that she never reported the incident to police and “wanted to pretend it never happened.”

“I was confused. I wished I had never opened the door,” she said.

In cross-examination, Weinstein defense attorney Donna Rotunno sought to plant seeds of doubt about Sciorra’s testimony by trying to get the actress to state that as an actress part of her job is to “pretend to be someone you aren’t.”

The witness would not agree to that characterization but did concede that her efforts to portray a particular character must be convincing to audiences.

Sciorra’s testimony marked the first time that one of Weinstein’s dozens of accusers have taken the stand against him in court.

Five more women are due to testify in Weinstein’s New York trial.

The 67-year-old Weinstein faces two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault based on the testimony of just two of those accusers.

Prosecutors, however, are using the testimony of Sciorra and three other women to bolster their case that Weinstein exhibited a pattern of predatory behavior.

If convicted of predatory sexual assault, Weinstein could be sentenced to life in prison.

Separately, Weinstein was charged earlier this month in Los Angeles with rape and sexual assault based on the allegations of two women.

Weinstein, the producer of Hollywood blockbusters such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love,” has plead not guilty to the charges in the New York trial and denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.

Investigations carried out by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine in 2017 uncovered sex-crime allegations against Weinstein stretching back decades and led to the rise of the #MeToo movement, which encourages sexual assault victims to come forward. EFE-EPA


Pakistani town grapples with grim history of child abuse abduction

UNTV News   •   September 24, 2019

Grief, fear and anger have enveloped the town of Chunian in Pakistan’s eastern, Punjab province after the bodies of three missing children were found in a district which has seen numerous cases of child abuse and abductions in recent years.

Police said on Monday (September 23) they had made twenty arrests as they investigated the suspected murders and sexual assault of the boys.

The body of Muhammad Faizan had been found the previous week, a day after he went missing.

Faizan, 8, had failed to return home with his brother when the two went to nearby shops to buy snacks.

His body and the remains of two more boys were later found on a deserted section of an industrial estate.

“The animal brutalized my child. I cannot bear this. I want justice,” Faizan’s mother, Amtal Salam. The family home overlooks the grave of her young son.

Local media reported three other children from the area have been missing since the middle of the year and another child had disappeared late last week after the bodies were found.

Videos of hundreds of local children being sexually assaulted were caught circulating in 2015, which a senior child protection official at the time called the largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan’s history.

Last year, the body of a 7-year-old girl was found in a garbage dumpster, which police said was the twelfth incident of a girl being abducted, raped and killed in the district in a year, and sparked violent protests. A man was convicted of the murder and was executed.

Hundreds more protested last week, blocking off streets and damaging shops.

Families in the area are fearful of the welfare and safety of their children.

“Now the children are afraid to go to the mosques, they are afraid to go to school. Announcements have been made that parents should escort their children to school,” said Shehnaz Bibi, a housewife from a neighboring village.

Police are continuing to investigate the suspected murders and disappearances and are also looking into the possibility of a serial killer. (REUTERS)

(Production: Naeem Abbas, Salahuddin, Sheree Sardar, Masako Iijima)

Trump court pick tearfully denies woman’s sexual assault allegation

admin   •   September 28, 2018


U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Fighting to salvage his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh angrily and tearfully denied on Thursday (September 27) a university professor’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her 36 years ago after she told a dramatic U.S. Senate hearing she was “100 percent certain” he did it.

Christine Blasey Ford, her voice sometimes cracking with emotion, appeared in public for the first time to detail her allegation against Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge chosen by President Donald Trump for a lifetime job on the top U.S. court. Ford told the committee she feared Kavanaugh would rape and accidentally kill her during the alleged assault when both her high school students in Maryland.

Kavanaugh testified after Ford finished her appearance, and they were never in the hearing room together.

“I swear today, under oath, before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge,” Kavanaugh told the Judiciary Committee.

Calling himself a victim of “grotesque and obvious character assassination,” Kavanaugh, speaking passionately, said he “unequivocally and categorically” denied Ford’s allegation.

Kavanaugh at times choked back tears, especially when he mentioned that his daughter suggested they pray for Ford, when he spoke of his father and when he mentioned women friends who have rallied to support him.

The momentous hearing could determine whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the Senate after a pitched political battle between Trump’s fellow Republicans and Democrats who oppose the nominee. — Reuters

Bill Cosby sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for sexual assault

admin   •   September 26, 2018

Mugshots of actor and Comedian Bill Cosby released by Montgomery County Correctional Facility via Reuters

Bill Cosby was marched out of court in handcuffs on Tuesday (September 25) after being sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison for sexual assault, capping the downfall of the once-beloved comedian known as “America’s Dad.”

Cosby, 81, was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of his one-time friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia home in 2004.

The sentence ensures that Cosby will spend no less than three years in a Pennsylvania prison before he becomes eligible for supervised release, though he could end up staying behind bars for as much as a decade.

Cosby was the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual abuse since the start of the #MeToo movement, the national reckoning with misconduct that has brought down dozens of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields. — Reuters



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