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A special task force has been assembled to investigate the growing number of sex abuse allegations in Hollywood, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.

“In response to the widespread allegations of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, I have established a task force of specially trained deputy district attorneys who are ready to evaluate these cases if any are referred to my office for criminal prosecution,”  Lacey said. “I have assigned the group of veteran sex crimes prosecutors to work together to ensure a uniformed approach to the legal review and possible prosecution of any case that meets both the legal and factual standards for criminal prosecution.”

No cases have been flagged by authorities and handed over to the district attorney’s office for criminal filings yet, Lacey, who is the first African American and woman to serve in the post, said. But the department has joined forces with the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments in its investigations.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have come out of the woodwork in recent weeks. Harvey Weinstein was accused of assault and harassment by more than a dozen stars and fired from his post early last month. Since then, entertainers, including Terry Crews and Lupita Nyong’o, have given public testimonies about abuse at the hands of Hollywood executives and elite power players.

Here are three things to know about the task force and how cases will be handled:

Sex abuse cases can be difficult to prove

Prosecutors have to compile any existing physical evidence and witness statements to prove their cases. Though it is hard to build a case, sexual assault is a criminal justice issue, Laurie Levenson, a former prosecutor and Loyola law professor told the Los Angeles Times. “It is a good idea to have veteran, experienced prosecutors on these cases,” Levenson said, “but people shouldn’t get their expectations up.”

Prosecutors will have to investigate alleged incidents that happened years ago

A statute of limitations on various sex crimes, unfortunately, renders some of the allegations to old to hold up in a court of law, said Los Angeles police officials Thursday. Examples of this cases include actor Corey Feldman, who reported to police that he was a sexual abuse victim as a child, the Times reported.

District attorneys may have an influx of other crimes for prosecution 

Reports of certain crimes, including aggravated assaults, are on the rise in Los Angeles, according to a Twitter message posted by Cory Palka, commanding officer for the LAPD Hollywood division. The rise, coinciding with the flood of allegations rocking Hollywood pertaining to sex assaults, is most likely a concerning issue to the city’s DA office.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

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