I read The Ottawa Herald articles covering the national sex scandals pertaining to well-known powerful men such as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and even Garrison Keillor. I feel that this phenomenon is due to enough women simply being fed up with the perverted actions of men who may inwardly think they are pulling “frat boy” antics, but who are committing real-world criminal lewdness and sexual assaults.

I believe the world in “2017 America” is changing among men, too. No longer are many men willing to turn a blind 0eye while an innocent woman is groped, fondled or even raped by other men. Too many powerful men, for far too long, have thought that they would be inoculated or given a “free pass” due to their stature in Hollywood, politics, business, and even journalism — in the case of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and even Garrison Keillor, whose despicable actions have been admitted and confessed-to.

I attended a Garrison Keillor “one-man show” in April 2015. It was billed as a “family-friendly event”. I knew of his folksy former radio show “Prairie Home Companion”, so I felt it was innocent. True enough, families with young kids were there. Yet, I was shocked when Keillor used salty language and even described the house in Minnesota where he lost his virginity was now a paved-over highway. I thought that was a bit “over the top” and not fitting conversation for a family-oriented event. I originally thought Keillor was a folksy guy on the radio; yet he sounded lewd and lascivious in his one-man act, as he toured the nation in 2015. For a man who is 75 years old, he now has ruined his image and becomes a poster boy for the proverbial “Dirty Old Man”.

Similarly with Bill Cosby who is now age 80. He ruined his career and the shame can never be cleansed from him. Cosby allegedly used date-rape drugs, whereas Matt Lauer used buttons under a desk to lock doors so he could molest co-workers. In many ways, prison is “too good” for those types of heinous offenders.

Gone are the days of Jimmy Swaggart with his sobbing “I have sinned” speech or PTL televangelist Jim Bakker having a blackmail-type of affair with his church secretary Jessica Hahn. Gone is Bill Clinton’s parsing of words that “it all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”. In today’s cultural climate: I firmly believe Bill Clinton would be convicted in the Senate and removed from office if the Monica Lewinsky scandal happened today. Senators shirked their duty years ago. Their job in an impeachment is merely to ask: “Is the defendant guilty of what is accused?” The House’s job was to define the charges, which they accurately did do. Regrettably, many senators blurred their duty. Clinton got acquitted. Men such as Sen. Al Franken should do the honorable thing and resign now. Franken has admitted absolute guilt. I applaud many of today’s American women who now muster the courage to call-out and spurn a perpetrator.

The days of a “casting couch” or a “tryst” for advancement in a career must stop. Powerful men can no longer use fear, intimidation and threats to gag or blackmail their victims into silence. In an age of cell phones with cameras and microphones — combined with women of courage — perhaps more men will act like gentlemen instead of serial abusers. Tougher criminal penalties and punishment must become “the new normal”. I am pleased that authentic women with valid claims have the courage to come forward and report crimes to police. My only hope is that they will come forward sooner, so they cannot be accused of copycatting or chasing monetary damages. Plus, by a similar token: the sooner a perpetrator is reported, the fewer future victims he will have a chance to prey upon.

— James A. Marples, Longview, Texas