This is partly linguistic. And partly fashion.
Harvey Weinstein trial: Jury finds Hollywood producer guilty of rape
Well sorta. He was found guilty of something called rape – rape in the third degree. Which isn’t “rape rape” and isn’t rape perhaps in the English sense of the word.
One reason we know this being that the sentence is 1 to 4 years.
It’s the “criminal sex act” which carries the much heavier possible sentence. He was actually cleared on the charge of rape, as in “rape, rape”.
This is, as I say, partly linguistic. American legal terms use rape far more widely than the English language does. But it’s also fashion. That he’s the evilest man who ever walked etc is simply known and true in certain sectors. There is an implication of this too. I guarantee there will be a Guardian column after sentencing comparing his sentence for “third degree rape and a criminal sex act”, comparing it to rapey rape sentences and demanding to know why he was treated so leniently.