Nick Kristof runs an open leter from Dylan Farow, who was the center of a child molestation situation involving Woody Allen when she was seven years old. The attention is swirling as a consequence of Mr. Allen's recent receipt of a lifetime achievment award from the Golden Globes.
I side with Mr. Kristof on this point:
Look, none of us can be certain what happened. The standard to send someone to prison is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but shouldn’t the standard to honor someone be that they are unimpeachably, well, honorable?
Yet the Golden Globes sided with Allen, in effect accusing Dylan either of lying or of not mattering. That’s the message that celebrities in film, music and sports too often send to abuse victims.
Well, yes, and I have been boycotting Mr. Allen for two decades now. However, since this is Mr. Kristof, we can count on him for some problematic writing:
A firestorm erupted in 1992 over allegations described as “inappropriate touching” — in fact, what Dylan recounts is far worse, a sexual assault. She was 7 years old.
For heaven's sake - per the US DoJ this is "sexual assault" (my empasis):
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Wikipedia is more concise:
Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented. This includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration), groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the victim in a sexual manner.
So "inappropriate touching" is a subset included in "sexual assault". Lacking more information, we have no idea whether the disgraceful conduct Ms. Farrow is recounting is "much worse" than inappropriate touching.
Anyone following the "rape crisis" on America's campuses, as one might expect a Times columnist to do, should be aware of the distinction between "sexual assault" and rape. But our media seems to be eager to blur that line. That is not helpful in the current case - Mr. Allen's behavior is deplorable as alleged.