Defending False Allegations of Sexual Assault
Over the last several years, the #MeToo campaign has empowered and supported women to bring to light sexual assault claims that had been previously unreported. While this is a noble and good campaign, like anything, there is an ugly side of it too – and that is an increase in false allegations of sexual assault. An older study by the National Sexual Violence Research Center found that false rape allegations were uncommon. And while falsely reporting a crime is a crime itself, it is rarely pursued, especially against false allegations of sexual assault. The result is that more innocent men (and women) are having to fight for their life – both in the criminal court and court of public opinion – against false rape allegations.
It is not hyperbole to say that anyone facing false allegations of sexual assault are in a fight for their life. While the criminal justice system ensures that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, the court of public opinion often views an accused as guilty until proven innocent. The accused often incurs immediate collateral consequences, such as loss of employment; strained relationships with family, friends, and neighbors; an almost complete loss of reputation and good will; and, perhaps most importantly, mental health issues that come with facing such serious false allegations.
Reasons for False Allegations of Sexual Assault
Working against an unfairly accused is an overriding public belief that, why would anyone make up false rape accusations? And a belief that: If they claim rape, something wrong must have happened? Again – they presume guilt. While every case is unique, the reasons for the false rape allegations can range from the sinister to the juvenile:
- The accuser is trying to blackmail the accused for financial gain;
- The accuser suffers from a mental illness;
- The accuser is seeking attention or sympathy;
- The accuser is heartbroken and wants revenge;
- The accuser regrets the one-night stand;
- The accuser is lying to save her pre-existing relationship with another man.
Compounding things is that it is not uncommon for the accuser to take on the victimhood mentality once the false allegations have been made. And this makes sense because they are treated by the system as victims the moment the accuser makes the allegation. So it’s not surprising then that they start buying their own lies the more time that passes, the more the system panders to them, and the more reinforcement and support they receive.
Defending False Allegations of Sexual Assault
There are a number of steps to take – immediately – if you find yourself having to defend against false rape accusations.
First, hire an experienced sexual assault defense attorney. This is not a fight you want to take on without counsel. The entire criminal justice system is designed to get “justice” for the accuser. The State has a team of investigators, detectives, sex assault advocates, BCA DNA professionals, and multiple prosecutors. They are trained to believe the accuser and are not keen on dismissing allegations, even when the evidence starts to demonstrate that the accusations are false. When facing this full machine, you can see why hiring the right criminal defense attorney/team – hint: that’s us – is so damn important. You need your team to fight back and have the know-how to do it.
Second, SHUT UP! Do NOT talk with the police without your attorney present. If you get picked up, unexpectedly, and taken in for questioning, remember four magic words: I. Need. My. Attorney. In an idealistic world, you should be able to tell the truth and the truth would set you free. But this is not an idealistic world and even if you speak the truth, the detectives will latch onto key admissions – for example, saying you were with the accuser on the night in question – to support their false narrative. There may come a time to give a statement, but that is only after consulting with your attorney and a strategy for why is developed, which leads into…
Third, start building your defense right away. Identify witnesses that saw your positive interaction with the accuser on the night in question. Get receipts from where you were to show how much alcohol was consumed, if alcohol was a factor. Save/screenshot any and all communications, texts, etc. between you and the accuser, particularly if they are from after the incident and show a positive mindset still. Contextualizing the relationship and/or interaction with the accuser both before and after the alleged incident can be critical to mounting a successful defense. Your criminal defense attorney/team can help you identify the possible evidence available for you to gather and get an investigator to work on your behalf.
Sexual Assault Attorney Serving St. Paul, MN
As you can see, facing false allegations of sexual assault are daunting. The State will bring everything it has down on the accused to get “justice.” Hiring a sexual assault defense team is a must. The North Star Criminal Defense team knows how to mount the defense you need, has an investigative team it trusts, and know-how to bring the fight to the State.