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Academy member on trial over child molestation charges draws scrutiny

Stacy Perman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

"I was shaking," she said. "I couldn't work, it was so disturbing to me."

Her now-former employer said the employee shared details of the alleged event with her.

Cooper's attorney, Jackson, declined to comment on either the incident or the case.

The academy has struggled to deal with members who have been accused of misconduct.

"The Academy has been made aware of the alleged abhorrent behavior and will address this matter according to our Standards of Conduct and the due process requirements under California nonprofit corporation law. We would have grounds, under our rules, to expel any member convicted of a violent crime," the organization said in a statement regarding Cooper.

In 2017, following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times and the New Yorker, the academy's board of governors moved quickly to expel the producer. It also enacted a new "Standards of Conduct," giving the body's leadership flexibility to take action if any member violated the new set of criteria.

 

A year later, the academy expelled director Roman Polanski and actor Bill Cosby. The decision came 40 years after Oscar winner Polanski fled the United States after he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. In 2019, he unsuccessfully sued the academy to overturn its decision and reinstate him.

Cosby's ouster came after he was convicted of sexual assault in Pennsylvania and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. Cosby had been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, going back decades. In 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the ruling.

More recently, the academy fielded a storm of criticism over its handling of best actor winner Will Smith's slap of presenter Chris Rock during last month's Oscars ceremony. Almost 2 weeks later, it announced a ban on Smith for 10 years.

The allegations against Cooper have reverberated in Calabasas, where he lives and works as a longtime active member of the community.

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