Another dark Hollywood chapter drew to a close this week when a longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was sent to prison for child molestation.
According to Fox News, 70-year-old Jeffery Cooper was given an eight-year sentence on Monday by Judge Alan Schneider.
Former prosecutor says Cooper could have gotten 12 years
That came after Cooper was found guilty in May of molesting a girl over a two-year period when she was between the ages of 12 and 13. The victim, who is now in her late 20s, testified against Cooper during his trial.
She and another victim are represented by attorney David Ring, and he told Fox News Digital that the defendant had originally sought probation rather than jail time.
“They’re pleased that he got the eight years,” Ring said of his client’s reaction to Cooper’s sentence. “There was a long, long road to get there,” he added.
Neama Rahmani is a former federal prosecutor and LA-based attorney who said that Monday’s penalty was stiffer than average.
“Even though he received less than the 12-year statutory maximum, eight years tends to be the higher end of the range for child molestation under California law,” Rahmani was quoted as telling Fox News Digital.
“The jury deadlocked for one victim, but the judge likely found his pattern of sexual abuse to be an aggravating factor, and Cooper testifying in his own defense probably didn’t help either,” Rahamani explained, noting, “Judges don’t like defendants who perjure themselves on the stand.”
No comment from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Meanwhile, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon issued a statement which read, “Children are the most vulnerable members of our community, [and] Mr. Cooper abused his position of trust and caused incredible harm to helpless victims.”
“I know that nothing can undo the trauma that they have endured, but I hope the victims find peace and healing now that this criminal process is complete,” Gascon said.
For its part, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not respond to Fox News’ request for a comment.
However, an unnamed Academy source told the network, “This is currently going through the standards of the conduct process. The next step is for the board to convene in early August to make a determination.”