On Sex Addiction: Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
The facts leading up to the resignation of disgraced New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expose that we are suffering from an epidemic of sex addicts who have worked their way into the most powerful positions in society to enhance their opportunities to prey on women.
These elite sex addicts work in the same manner as common sex addicts, only their positions raise the stakes much higher, which adds to their rush and excitement. They create false facades – the beloved family man, the wholesome politician, the pursuer of justice – so they can lure unsuspecting women, and they rise in power so their female victims become more sophisticated and harder for them to “break.” This ever-increasing challenge greatly enhances their sexual high, the same way that a person addicted to drugs continues to chase a better high by consuming more powerful drugs.
These elite sex addicts groom their victims the same way that a predator would groom a child victim: by befriending them to figure out their vulnerabilities. They have a plan, and patiently wait to act on their addiction until they have fully gained their victim’s confidence. Once they act out, to the shock and dismay of their innocent victim, they use their heightened intellect to cast doubt in the victim’s mind by lying and twisting and distorting until the victim somehow believes it was her fault or she deserved it. They couple that manipulation with the power of their positions to instill fear in their victim, or offer substantial “hush money,” leaving the victim feeling alone and powerless to combat the situation, knowing that society will question her, and ultimately label her a woman scorned or a gold-digger.
Anyone skeptical of this scenario should just look at the litany of supremely powerful men who have engaged in this behavior: Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and now Schneiderman, to name just a few. All knew what they were doing was wrong as all are top-educated, wealthy men who had access to any resource they wanted or needed, but their addiction was so strong that they could not stop themselves. (And while of course not every or even most prominent male leaders are sex addicts – some estimates suggest that between three and six percent of U.S. adults (including women) demonstrate compulsive sexual behavior – it certainly appears that many sex addicts who are intellectually gifted and ambitious are infiltrating our highest offices.)
#MeToo has exposed the prevalence of this sickness within our elite ranks and the grave injustice their victims have endured – and has been the spotlight needed to end this madness. No longer are sexual addiction and assault limited to association with creepy guys who lurk around playgrounds or strip clubs, as it is now incontrovertible that men with those same addictions lurk around the White House, the Governor’s Mansion, and the courthouse. No longer do these victimized women need to feel alone or ashamed, as the entire country now has its eyes wide open that these victims have always been telling the truth, and are to be believed and supported so that they can stay safe from the predators that intentionally roam our most powerful positions. And no longer should we men – who have wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters out in the workforce – overlook or tolerate any inappropriate behavior by other men simply because of the prestige of the position they hold. Instead, we must confront them, and demand that they stop and seek help for their illness before it’s too late and they destroy people’s lives (including their own).
Of course, there are and will continue to be some overreaction and innocent “casualties,” as there are in every social justice movement. It will be a great challenge for the courts and for us lawyers to find the appropriate lines. Yet it is a necessary process for us as a society to undertake and endure. Anyone who questions that path should just read, or re-read, the harrowing details of the victims of Bill Cosby or Eric Schneiderman.
WINE OF THE WEEK
2009 Domaine Serene, Oregon Pinot Noir ($69.95) – I was so excited to find this gem on the new wine list at St. George’s Golf & Country Club Wednesday night. I’m a big fan of Oregon pinots, and this one did not let me down. Styled in Burgundy fashion, it was light, fruity, and very drinkable. I paired it with a strip steak and, although nervous it may have been too light for the steak, I thought it worked perfectly!
Stanford East – I kicked off May with breakfast at the Premier Diner in Commack with Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO of HIA-LI, and Dr. Yacov Shamash, Vice President for Economic Development at Stony Brook University. Our breakfast took us a step further in building up the already strong relationship between the Hauppauge Industrial Park (HIP) and Stony Brook University (think Silicon Valley and Stanford). I’m very excited about our progress.
Numbers Game – Where do people outside the New York area go to eat when they just want quick, reliably good food in a casual atmosphere? As I headed back to the Premier Diner with my friend Gregg Schor of Protegrity Advisors for lunch that same day, I wondered why diners aren’t a nationwide phenomenon. We met up with Sal Alesia of Morgan Stanley and Michael Costa of CostaRothbort Accountants & Advisors for a great lunch to discuss building our networks.
Workforce Development – I had the great pleasure last week to meet with Dr. Fara Afshar, Dr. John Galiotos, and many other leaders from Suffolk Community College’s STEM/CTE division. I toured the Workforce Development Technology Center, and to say I was impressed would be an understatement – the caliber of training/certification programs offered in manufacturing-related fields is pretty incredible. The fact is, not everyone needs to receive an advanced degree to make valuable contributions to the labor force. Particularly on Long Island, where everyone loves to talk about the young workers we’re losing, we need to create opportunities for them to stay and thrive. At the meeting we discussed the natural partnership between SCCC and HIA-LI to help funnel these talented students into jobs right here in the HIP and surrounding areas. SCCC’s administration is all-in and I see great things on the horizon.
You Say It’s Your Birthday – Happy Birthday to my friend Rob Canberg (of Nest Seekers), who celebrated his 50th last week with a surprise party at the Southampton Publick House. I enjoyed participating in the roast! We ended the night with a late dinner with Rob and his beautiful wife, Catherine, at tutto il giorno. A wonderful evening!
On Being Catholic (Part 2) – Finally, I want to thank the dozens, if not hundreds, of people who reached out to me in response to my struggles with Catholicism. I received many thoughts, links to YouTube videos, books, and yes, criticism, all of which were greatly appreciated. I have committed myself to taking a fresh look at my Catholic heritage, and as part of that process, I was invited by Father Roy Tvrdik, who runs Shrine of Our Lady of the Island, to spend an afternoon touring the grounds and talking with him about my challenges and questions. We definitely connected and laid some groundwork to keep the dialogue open, something that may not have ever happened without all of your encouragement and shared concerns. I will continue to collect my thoughts on this issue and blog about it in the future.