Jury finds film academy member guilty of three counts of child molestation

A grand jury on Friday found Hollywood architect and film academy member Jeffrey Cooper guilty father’s number of times of child sexual abuse.

The two-week criminal trial began May 9 in Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys, four years after Cooper was arrested and a grand jury indicted him on eight counts related to two children. Cooper, a resident of Calabasas, pleaded not guilty.

The jury convicted him of three felony counts of lewd conduct against a child in relation to one of his accusers.

However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on five counts against Cooper related to the other accuser. Judge Alan Schneider misrepresented those charges.

Sentencing was set for June 1. Cooper could face up to 12 years in prison.

The judge, calling Cooper a flight mishap, ordered him to be jailed without bail. Cooper was released on a $5 million bond, down from nearly $9 million shortly after his arrest.

In June 2018, LA County Bureau of Special Victims detectives arrested Cooper, then 66, on suspicion of multiple counts of child molestation, according to court records. The acts are alleged to have happened to a victim between November 2006 and November 2007 and on a Monday between January 2012 and July 2016, according to the felony complaint for arrest warrant. .

The two accusers are 16 years old and 28 years old this year.

Cooper’s attorney, Alan Jackson, could not be immediately reached for comment.

In his opening statement, Jackson called these allegations untrue, part of a “money game,” and called his clients “targets” for “wealth, status, and resources.” his”.

On the first day of the trial, one of his accusers testified that she considered Cooper a “friend” and a “mentor” with whom she wrote the song; she taught her to play guitar in his home music studio in his basement, she said. She claims that when she was 12 or 13 years old, Cooper sexually abused her on a couch in a music studio.

The jury found Cooper on all three counts related to that victim.

“Obviously the families are disappointed that the jury did not convict one victim, but they are pleased to see the jury at least convict the second victim,” said Dave Ring, the attorney for the two accusers. and their families. . “They were extremely pleased to see that Cooper was immediately sent to prison for what he did. They have been through a lot of hell during the past four years of criminal proceedings. “

For years, Cooper, who testified in his own defense this week, has forged a reputation in Hollywood as a leading designer of cinemas and audio studios, including theater of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as more than two dozen recording studios. according to the website of his eponymous Calabasas-based company.

Cooper has designed home studios for a range of top directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. Outside of Hollywood, Cooper is the architect behind the Aish HaTorah World Center in Jerusalem, and he proposed the design for a culture and slavery museum in Benin, according to an essay on Medium.com he wrote. written in 2020.

Cooper became a member of the film academy in 2002.

“The Academy has been made aware of the alleged heinous conduct and will address the matter in accordance with our Standards of Conduct and due process requirements under California nonprofit corporation law. According to our rules, we will have grounds to deport any member found guilty of a violent crime,” the organization said in a statement regarding Cooper at the start of his trial. ta.

The Academy has struggled to deal with members accused of misconduct.

In 2017, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times and New Yorker, the academy’s board quickly expelled the producer. It also enacted new Standards of Conduct, giving agency leaders the flexibility to take action if any member violates the new set of criteria.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-05-20/jury-finds-academy-member-guilty-not-guilty-of-tk-counts-of-child-molestation Jury finds film academy member guilty of three counts of child molestation

Edmund DeMarche

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