Roy Moore sues women accusing him of sexual misconduct

Failed Alabama Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore filed a lawsuit Monday claiming he was the victim of a political conspiracy.

The 71-year-old ex-judge — who lost a special Senate election to Democrat Doug Jones in December — claims several of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct conspired against him in a politically-motivated slander campaign.

“The accusations made against Judge Moore during the U.S. Senate campaign arose from a political conspiracy to destroy his personal reputation and defeat him in the special Senate election,” Moore’s attorney, Melissa Isaak, said in a statement.

The lawsuit lists four of Moore’s nine accusers: Leigh Corfman, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Beverly Young Nelson and Tina Johnson, Isaak said during a press conference in Gadsen, Ala.

The suit charges the women “worked together” to intentionally defame Moore by falsely accusing him of sexual assault and harassment. Several of Moore’s accusers allege they were in their teens when Moore molested them.

Moore reiterated his vehement denials of the women’s accusation during Monday’s press conference.

"I never knew them," Moore said during a press conference Monday. "There is no truth to (the accusations)."

“I never knew them,” Moore said during a press conference Monday. “There is no truth to (the accusations).”

(WVTM Via Facebook)

“I never knew them,” the Republican said in his first public appearance since losing the Dec.12 election. “There is no truth to (the accusations).”

Moore’s election loss posed an embarrassing defeat in what should have been an easy Republican win, according to political pundits.

An avalanche of news reports on the shocking allegations against Moore sent his poll numbers plunging. Many of the accusers provided detailed and disturbing evidence to back up their allegations, including handwritten notes from Moore.

The combative Alabama election made national headlines after Trump stunned political observers by endorsing the scandal-scarred Moore days before Election Day. 

“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump, who’s himself accused of sexual misconduct by nearly two dozen women, tweeted on Dec. 4. 

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Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo may have more victims

Suspected Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo may have two more victims — a mother and her son — on top of the dozen people he’s accused of murdering.

And the man wrongfully convicted for the brutal November 1978 slaying of Rhonda Wicht and her young son Donald just wants closure in the case.

“I just hope this guy matches it,” Craig Coley, who spent almost 40 years in prison for the killings, told the Daily News on Monday. “That will give the family some final closure.”

Coley said he’d recently split with Wicht, 24, when cops found her strangled and 4-year-old Donald suffocated on Nov. 11, 1978 inside her Simi Valley apartment.

Public genealogy website led to Golden State Killer’s arrest

“Rhonda and Donny were very dear to me,” said Coley, 70. “We were like a family.”

Simi Valley police have asked for a DNA sample from DeAngelo, believing he may have killed Wicht and her 4-year-old son almost 40 years ago.

Simi Valley police have asked for a DNA sample from DeAngelo, believing he may have killed Wicht and her 4-year-old son almost 40 years ago.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Vietnam veteran was charged with killing the mother and son, tossed in the notorious Folsom State Prison after two trials. He’d remain behind bars until November 2017, when Gov. Jerry Brown cleared him of the the charges.

“I was never really given a chance to grieve their deaths either,” he said. “I just got thrown into the lion’s den.”

Ventura County prosecutors implored the governor last fall to clear Coley, realizing the DNA evidence at the scene didn’t match his.

Suspected Golden State Killer was cooking a roast before arrest

“Rhonda’s family, they more than anyone need some relief from all of this,” he said. “It seemed put to rest for a long time, and now all of a sudden, it’s all come back to the surface.”

Rhonda Wicht, 24, and her son Donald, 4, were found dead inside their Simi Valley apartment in November 1978.

Rhonda Wicht, 24, and her son Donald, 4, were found dead inside their Simi Valley apartment in November 1978.

(Simi Valley Police Department)

Police in Ventura County decided to see if DeAngelo was a match after he was arrested last week at his quaint home in Citrus Valley, Calif. Sacramento County investigators were able to track him down through DNA submitted by a distant relative to an ancestry site aimed at tracking down long-lost relatives.

Simi Valley Deputy Chief Joseph May told CBS affiliate KCAL investigators submitted DNA samples from the 1978 killings to see if it synced up with DeAngelo.

“Its within the realm of possibility that he could be a suspect in our case,” May told the channel.

Family member’s DNA led police to Golden State killer

DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former cop, is believed to have killed 12 and raped up to 50 more throughout the Golden State from the 1974 to 1986.

Coley, who was dating Wicht at the time, did nearly 40 years behind bars but was later exonerated when DNA didn't match up.

Coley, who was dating Wicht at the time, did nearly 40 years behind bars but was later exonerated when DNA didn’t match up.

(gofundme via YouTube)

May pointed out that two of those victims, Lyman and Charlene Smith, were bludgeoned to death inside their Ventura County home in 1980, meaning it’s possible he struck more than once in the area.

Coley, who bought a house and learned to drive after prison, said he’s “still trying to wrap my head around the whole situation.”

“It’s a difficult thing to put in words,” he told The News. “It’s even more difficult to get away from the surreal feeling that this actually occurred in my life and delayed it for four decades.” 

serial killers
sex crimes

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What Bostonians need to know this week

Jump-start your week — find out what you missed this weekend, along with upcoming events, sports, and weather all in one place. Want the “What Bostonians Need to Know” briefing in your inbox every Sunday? Sign up for our weekly newsletter, which launches soon.

What to know this week:

Warm weather here we come: The week begins a bit chilly on Monday, with temperatures likely to stay in the 50s, but things should quickly warm up later in the week. Greater Boston could even see some summer-like temperatures, with highs forecast to reach the 80s on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Clink, clink! The warmer weather means beer gardens will begin popping up around the city this spring, including four opening in May.  

The Celtics advance: The Celtics won Game 7 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Saturday, advancing to the conference semifinals where they’ll face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday at 8 p.m. The Bruins flew past the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Saturday, with a score of 6-2. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday at 7 p.m.

Al Horford celebrates during the first quarter against the Bucks. The Celtics won Game 7 and advanced to play the 76ers. —Photo by Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

What you missed over the weekend:

The Pats draft a QB: The New England Patriots were busy on the final day of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team started out by trading down for picks—twice. They later selected a couple of linebackers, a wide receiver, a tight end, a defensive back, and LSU quarterback Danny Etling.

Baker’s on the ballot, but he’s not the only one: Governor Charlie Baker officially received the Republican party’s endorsement for re-election at the state’s GOP convention Saturday. However, fringe candidate Scott Lively, who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a “veteran of the anti-gay movement,” a man who wrote a Holocaust revisionist book saying that the Nazi party was made up of gay men, also got enough delegate votes to land a spot on the ballot. The GOP primary will be September 4. Meanwhile, many Republican delegates at the convention expressed deep support for President Trump.

‘Trump is so broke…’: At Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf gave a blunt, raunchy speech that had the audience laughing—and gasping. President Trump did not attend for the second year in a row, but that didn’t stop the jokes from flying his way. Instead, Trump held a rally in Michigan.

What’s happening in Boston:

It’s open (market) season: The Greenway Open Market officially launches next weekend, May 5 and 6, featuring more than 80 local, independent designers and artists. On Saturday, May 5, shoppers can also enjoy the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Spring Food Truck Festival.

Wig Out! It’s the opening week of “Wig Out!” at American Repertory Theater, which was written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the Oscar-winning co-writer of “Moonlight.” The popular musical has an R&B soundtrack and explores drag queen and drag ball culture.

“Wig Out!” at American Repertory Theatre plays its opening week. —Liz Slaughter

Say ‘hi’ to HAIM: The sisters of the band, HAIM, come to town this week, playing a show at Agganis Arena on Thursday. Soul and R&B artist, Lizzo, is slated to open the show.   

This week’s Red Sox schedule:

Monday, April 30: 7:10 p.m. versus the Kansas City Royals on NESN

Tuesday, May 1: 7:10 p.m. versus the Kansas City Royals on NESN

Wednesday, May 2: 1:05 p.m. versus the Kansas City Royals on NESN

Thursday, May 3: 8:05 p.m. at the Texas Rangers on NESN

Friday, May 4: 8:05 p.m. at the Texas Rangers on NESN

Saturday, May 5: 8:05 p.m. at the Texas Rangers on NESN

Sunday, May 6: 3:05 p.m. at the Texas Rangers on NESN

This week’s Bruins schedule:

Monday, April 30: 7 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Lightning on NBC Sports

Wednesday, May 2: 7 p.m. versus the Tampa Bay Lightning on NBC Sports

Friday, May 4: 7 p.m. versus the Tampa Bay Lightning on NBC Sports

Sunday, May 6: TBD, versus the Tampa Bay Lightning on NBC Sports (if needed)

This week’s Celtics schedule:

Monday, April 30: 8 p.m. versus the Philadelphia 76ers on TNT

Thursday, May 3: 8:30 p.m. versus the Philadelphia 76ers on TNT

Saturday, May 5: TBD, at the Philadelphia 76ers on TNT

This week’s Revolution schedule:

Saturday, May 5: 1 p.m. at the Montreal Impact

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Get ready for the most expensive driving season in years

Get ready for a little bit more pain at the pump this summer.

Crude oil prices are at the highest level in more than three years and expected to climb higher, pushing up gasoline prices along the way.

The U.S. daily national average for regular gasoline is now $2.81 per gallon. That’s up from about $2.39 per gallon a year ago, according to Oil Price Information Service. And across the U.S., 13 percent of gas stations are charging $3 per gallon or more, AAA said last week.

“This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service.

The price of U.S. crude oil has been on a mostly steady incline since last June and last week hit $68.64, the highest since December 2014. Benchmark U.S. crude closed Friday at $68.10. Oil prices near $70 shouldn’t put the brakes on economic growth, however. While they’re boosting costs for some sectors of the economy, the energy sector and related industries have more money to spend on equipment and workers.

But higher oil prices are certainly an inconvenience for drivers, especially those with lower incomes.

“The good news is, both at the global level and the U.S. level, this is occurring at a time when growth is fairly robust,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit. “But consumers as whole will be hurt, mostly because gasoline prices are going up.”

Kevin Lanke, a motion picture lighting technician in Redondo Beach, California, says he’s now paying about $3.39 per gallon to fill up the 25-gallon tank in his 2000 Land Cruiser SUV. That’s about 20 cents more per gallon than a couple of months ago.

“I would fill up my car and it would be $52 or $53,” said Lanke, 51. “Now it’s in the mid $60s for the same amount of gas.”

Lanke keeps the recent increase in perspective, noting that three years ago he and his fellow Californians were paying over $4 per gallon. But he’s already weighing his options, saying if gas goes to $4 a gallon he’ll buy a more fuel-efficient car to use as his main ride and drive the Land Cruiser only when he needs it.

Several factors have helped drive oil prices higher. A wave of global economic growth has driven up demand for oil. At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies.

In the U.S., oil supplies were running 1.1 million barrels lower at the start of this summer’s driving season, which runs from April through September, than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That has amplified the typical increase in gas prices seen this time of year. Pump prices normally rise as demand increases from families going on vacation and taking to the highways on road trips. Already, U.S. consumer demand for gasoline hit a record high for the month of April, according to the EIA.

Drivers in Western states such as California, Oregon, Washington, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, are paying the most at the pump. The average retail price in those states is running from $2.95 to $3.61 per gallon.

Average retail gasoline prices are lowest in a swath of mostly East Coast states, including Florida, New Hampshire, Delaware and Georgia. They’re ranging from $2.68 to $2.80 per gallon.

Still, prices remain well off from 2008, when crude oil prices jumped above $130 per barrel and average retail gas prices surged to an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon.

“People forget very, very quickly,” Kloza said, noting that the average U.S. gasoline price remains well below where they stood five years ago at $3.60 per gallon.

“We’re seeing a higher price environment… but I don’t think we’re goig to look at really apocalyptic numbers,” he said.

The EIA projects that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.74 per gallon this summer, up from an average of $2.41 per gallon a year earlier. Gas prices to rise each spring through Memorial Day and slowly decline as the summer goes along.

For all of 2018, the agency expects that the national retail price for all grades of gasoline will average $2.76 a gallon. That would translate into an additional $190 spent on fuel by the average U.S. household this year compared to last, the agency said.

“At the higher income levels, this won’t really have much of an effect,” said Behravesh. “But it’s a bigger deal for lower-income families, because a bigger share of their budgets goes to things like gasoline.”

In broader economic terms, the rise in oil and gasoline prices will help crude producers in states like Texas and North Dakota and will likely boost capital spending industrywide. Spending by oil companies fell sharply as oil plunged below $30 a barrel in 2016, dragging on U.S. economic growth.

Industries that rely heavily on fuel, such as shipping companies, airlines, vehicle fleet operators and other transportation companies, are seeing rising costs, which eventually will be passed on to consumers. Diesel fuel hit its highest national average price in more than three years over the weekend at about $3.06 per gallon. American Airlines said it spent $412 million more on fuel in the recent first quarter than in the year-ago period.

At current levels, U.S. crude oil prices won’t noticeably hamper the economy, said Behravesh.

“You would have to get up into the $90-$100 range for it to really have a big impact on growth,” he said. “At these levels, it may shave off a tenth of a percentage point off global growth.”

One reason oil likely won’t get to that level is the emergence of the U.S. as a major global oil producer. Higher prices encourage U.S. oil companies to crank up output.

“That rise in U.S. production and further rises in U.S. production will put a cap or a damper eventually on higher oil prices,” Behravesh said.

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Trump voters were motivated by fear of losing their status

IN THE newly revived “Roseanne”, a popular sitcom about a white blue-collar family in the Midwest, the main character, Roseanne Connor, explains to her leftie sister why she voted for President Donald Trump. “He talks about jobs, Jackie”, she says. By putting these words in the mouth of the matriarch, the creators of “Roseanne” reflected the widely held assumption that blue-collar voters, especially in the rustbelt in the Midwest and north-east, voted for Mr Trump because they felt poor and feared they would get poorer. The reality seems to be more nuanced.

On April 23rd the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study suggesting that white, Christian and mostly male voters turned to Mr Trump because they felt that their dominant status was at risk, not because they felt left behind economically. Diana Mutz, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, used a representative group of around 1,200 voters polled on the same wide-ranging set of questions in October 2012, just before the re-election of President Barack Obama, and in October 2016, just before Mr Trump’s victory. She found that change in financial wellbeing had little impact on how those surveyed voted. Instead, they flocked to Mr Trump because of the way he talked about threats to America’s global dominance from China and other countries, and because they feared their way of life was threatened by increasing racial and ethnic diversity.

Those who argue that voters let their wallet determine their choice of candidate for the presidency argue that voters reward the party that has benefited them financially and punish the party that has not. America’s badly battered rustbelt was crucial for Mr Trump’s victory, contributing to the widespread idea that economic hardship was largely responsible for Mr Trump’s success. This explanation has been embraced by those on both the left and right, who have asserted that Hillary Clinton lost the election because she did not campaign enough in the Midwest and ignored the working class.

Polling data show that whites without a college degree were indeed Mr Trump’s staunchest supporters, prompting him to explain “I love the poorly educated!” while campaigning in Nevada. Yet according to Ms Mutz, members of this demographic favour Mr Trump because they felt their old dominance was threatened, and pined for a time when America’s dominance was indisputable—economically, militarily, culturally and politically.

Ms Mutz notes two other reasons why this demographic was not guided by financial considerations in its vote for Mr Trump. One is that the economy, and manufacturing especially, was improving before the election in 2016. Joblessness was low. Many factories in the Midwest complained about being unable to find enough skilled workers. Second, studies suggest that voters’ own finances rarely determine their choice at the ballot box. A survey by the National Opinion Research Centre at the University of Chicago in 2016 found that worries about pensions, education and health care barely played a role in voters’ decisions to back Mr Trump.

Ms Mutz says experimental research suggests that multiculturalism can be experienced by whites in America as a form of status threat. It produces negative attitudes towards outsiders of all kinds and greater identification with the Republican Party and especially the Tea Party. Her findings suggest that the Democratic Party has a big challenge. It is easier to remedy economic anxieties because they are tangible. Cultural angst is more insidious. Calming the worries of those who feel frustrated, marginalised and underappreciated will be the biggest challenge for proponents of free trade and ethnic and racial diversity. They have to contend with the fact that rational arguments may fail to persuade those who are guided by their gut.

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2 bystanders shot, injured near St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, gunman on loose

A gunman opened fire Sunday night in downtown St. Louis near Busch Stadium, hitting one person in the head and the other in the leg, authorities said.

Authorities did not release a description of the gunman, the report said. The victim hit in the head was unresponsive and homicide detectives are reportedly at the scene, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Authorities said both victims are being treated at the hospital. The victim who was shot in the head was listed in critical, unstable condition.

The report said there was a “chill” event at the Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village. The event was tickets and invite-only. An argument broke out at about 8 p.m. The report said the two people struck were believed to be innocent bystanders.

Maj. Mary Warnecke, from the St. Louis police, said several hundred were at the rooftop event, which was reportedly organized on Facebook.

“We have lots of security at venues like this, but if someone pulls out their weapon…it’s very difficult to prevent.”




Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

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Why Bill Cosby may not spend any time in prison

But legal experts said the 80-year-old certainly will spend less time than that behind bars, and there’s a very real possibility that he may not ever be incarcerated.

Why? Well, it’s mostly to do with his defense team’s plan to appeal the guilty verdict — likely on the grounds that the decision to allow five other accusers to testify in the trial unfairly prejudiced the jury.

Cosby’s attorney, Tom Mesereau, will probably ask the court that his client be given home confinement during the appeal, which could take months or even years, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said.

“I think he’ll ask the court and do whatever he needs to, to have his client remain out at liberty until these issues are decided, whether it was appropriate to allow all those accusers to testify, and how prejudicial and unfair would that be,” Jackson said.

The decision on Cosby’s bail is up to Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who oversaw the case. His prior rulings suggest he may allow Cosby to remain on home confinement.
The long, winding path to Bill Cosby's guilty verdict

On Thursday, O’Neill dismissed the prosecution’s plea to revoke Cosby’s $1 million bail and remand him to jail.

“I’m not simply going to lock him up right now,” the judge said, citing his age and his track record of appearing at every hearing for two and a half years.

“You are making a very big deal of something where there is a very high bail and he has appeared at every appearance,” O’Neill said.

For now, Cosby is not permitted to leave his Pennsylvania home. If he does leave the state for another home, it would have to be arranged ahead of time and he would have to wear a GPS monitoring device, the judge ruled.

If O’Neill does allow Cosby to remain free during appeals, and the legal action lasts for years, then there’s a question of whether the comedian’s age and health will make that sentence moot.

What his team is likely to appeal

Cosby’s appeal is likely to focus on the five “prior bad acts” witnesses who testified that Cosby drugged and assaulted them in the 1980s. Prosecutors said these witnesses showed that Cosby had a common pattern or scheme in his assault of Andrea Constand.

Comments on “Good Morning America” Friday by Cosby representatives Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt previewed some of the possible appeal arguments. Benson and Wyatt, who are not attorneys, said that the “prior bad acts” witnesses unfairly prejudiced the jury on issues that were not related to the actual charges.

“They also had a huge amount of prejudice and bias by having five women also testify to crimes which he was not on trial for,” Benson said.

5 key takeaways from the Bill Cosby trial's testimony

“These women have no evidence. They went to no authorities,” Wyatt said. “(Prosecutors) parade these five distracters in to tell stories and talk about the drug habits they had.”

But Michelle Madden Dempsey, a criminal law professor at Villanova University, said she thought Cosby’s attorneys had a very weak case on these questions.

“Was it prejudicial to Cosby’s case in the sense that it hurt his chances of getting an acquittal? Sure. But it needs to be unfairly prejudicial (for a successful appeal),” she said.

Dempsey said these witnesses had clear probative value, which means they were useful evidence to prove something important in the trial.

“So did it hurt (Cosby’s) case? Of course it did. But that’s what evidence of guilt does to guilty people. It hurts your case,” she said. “I think he’s got a very weak appeal with respect to the other acts witnesses.”

Why he’ll get a reduced sentence

Bill Cosby accusers  Caroline Heldman, left; Lili Bernard, center; and Victoria Valentino react outside the court house after the guilty verdict was announced.

Though Cosby faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele indicated he would not press for that sentence.

“He was convicted of three counts of (indecent assault), so technically that would be up to 30 years. However, we have to look at a merger of those counts to determine what the final maximum will be,” Steele said.

Legal analyst Areva Martin said the judge’s rulings so far suggest he will give Cosby a much reduced sentence.

“I think the fact that the judge yesterday allowed him to walk out of that courtroom, did not remand him immediately to jail, gives us a sense about what this judge is likely to do when he gets to the sentencing hearing,” she said.

Judges can take any number of mitigating factors into consideration when issuing a sentence, she explained.

“He will be able to take into consideration Cosby’s age, the status of his health, the philanthropic work that he’s done over the last several decades, the fact that this is his first criminal conviction — all of those will be factors that the judge can take into consideration when sentencing him.”

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

‘Essential he spend time in jail’

Some women who say they were also assaulted by Cosby believe he should spend time in prison.

“I believe that it’s essential he spend time in jail and it wouldn’t break my heart to see him spend the rest of his life in jail,” Janice Baker-Kinney said Friday.

But ultimately, the length of his sentence would not change his guilty conviction.

“Whether he ends up serving time in jail or if he dies during the appeals process, that doesn’t remove the fact that he has been convicted,” Dempsey said. “That’s definitely an important moment in history.”

CNN’s Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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Global elites to hash out #MeToo sexual misconduct issues at Milken Conference

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The global social media movement known through the Twitter hashtag #MeToo has highlighted sexual misconduct in business, entertainment and politics, and will be on the agenda at this year’s Milken Institute Global Conference, which starts on Sunday.

Beginning with accusations of misconduct starting in October against Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, which he has denied, #MeToo has already derailed the careers of dozens of entertainers, journalists, politicians and corporate executives.

It will now also be a focus of the Milken conference, which considers how market principles can be applied to social problems. The conference is being staged at the Beverly Hilton by the Milken Institute, a think tank endowed by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Michael Milken.

Milken, once considered Wall Street’s “Junk Bond King,” experienced his own fall from power after his 1989 indictment in an insider trading probe. After pleading guilty to securities violations, he served about two years in prison and has since devoted his life to philanthropic efforts.

The Milken conference, which tries to set standards for corporate behavior, will this year feature a panel with actress Ashley Judd, who is one of Weinstein’s accusers, on how the momentum around the #MeToo movement can last.

One panel on Tuesday is called “How to be a Man in 2018,” while another that day focuses on women seeking to overcome the “boys club” mentality often associated with the Silicon Valley technology industry.

“Women are at the forefront of some of the world’s most disruptive and innovative companies but continue to battle systemic, outdated barriers and bias across industries,” said Canadian entrepreneur Janice McDonald, one of the speakers this year.

Since the accusations against Weinstein, men like Amazon Studios’ Roy Price, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, Hollywood stars Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., TV anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, celebrity chefs Mario Batali and John Besh, and casino magnate Steve Wynn have fallen from their positions amid allegations of sexual harassment or assault.

Meanwhile, Bill Cosby, the comedian long thought of as “America’s Dad,” was convicted of sexual assault on April 27, more than three years after such allegations began to destroy his own reputation..

Milken organizers say the organization has highlighted gender diversity issues for several years, but #MeToo has put a spotlight on the topic.

Other related issues in business include persistent pay gaps between men and women, and a lack of diversity in corporate boardrooms, where women occupy just one in five board seats.

In a recent report, Linda-Eling Lee, global head of research for MSCI’s ESG Research group, said that after studying U.S. companies between 2011-2016, companies with at least three women on the board experienced median gains in return on equity (ROE)of 10 percentage points and earnings per share (EPS) of 37 percent.

In contrast, companies that began the five-year period with no female directors experienced median changes of minus one percentage point in ROE and minus 8 percent in EPS over the study period.

Milken conference organizers said women will likely comprise at least 30 percent of the conference’s more than 4,000 attendees and more than 700 speakers.

Other conferences are making similar efforts, including the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. About 21.1 percent of Davos attendees were women in 2018, up from 20.3 percent last year, while women held 26.1 percent of speaker roles, up from 25.3 percent.

“There has been an intention to have a more diverse set of attendees and speakers,” Milken Institute president Richard Ditizio said in an interview.

Ditizio added that the non-profit group, has been doing gender related programming for years, but #Metoo offers an opportunity to “draw more attention to that specific angle of the issue.”

Investment manager State Street Global Advisors will be bringing to the event a replica statue of the young defiant girl that it placed in the heart of New York’s financial district in 2017, to ignite a discussion around the power of women in leadership and the benefits of more diversity in the corporate world.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Anna Irrera in Los Angeles; Editing by Jennifer Ablan

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