If you've been falsely accused of a sexual offense, you're probably scared sick. An investigation can tear your life apart and destroy your reputation. A conviction can bring jail time, probation, fines, mandatory counseling and a permanent social stigma because of laws that require lifetime registration as a sex offender on public databases. However, false accusations happen, and there are ways to defend against them. Read below to learn more.
Accuser Motivation Can Lead To A Defense
People make false accusations for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes it's impossible to understand. Some motivations, however, are more common than others. They include:
- Child Custody Disputes. A lot of false sexual abuse allegations occur between warring spouses when there are children involved. There might be some element of anger or revenge involved, but the basic motivation is to gain an advantage in family court by demonizing the accused.
Sometimes a grandparent can make false allegations, claiming that a parent's boyfriend or girlfriend inappropriately touched a child (or worse), in order to gain custody of that child. This often happens when the grandparent doesn't approve of the new boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Anger Or Revenge. Anger and revenge alone, without other motivation, can be a powerful incentive to lie. Sometimes teenagers or younger children will lie about being sexually abused because they're aware that the accusations have power and they're angry over something. They can lack the emotional or mental maturity, however, to understand the long-term consequences to the accused. When the situation escalates, they may try to retract their statements, but find that the legal system is no longer listening to them. Police and psychologists may even decide the child or teen was coerced somehow into changing his or her testimony.
Some adults are also willing to make false accusations of sexual abuse, however, usually with the full understanding of what they're doing. They may be looking for revenge for any reason, but it often happens between sexual partners when the relationship is ending and the accuser feels betrayed or used.
- Financial Extortion. You don't have to be rich, or a celebrity, in order to be the target of someone who's willing to lie about a sexual assault. Employees sometimes threaten to bring charges against employers in order to get a better position, easier work, or money.
- Hiding Consensual Sex. You can find yourself accused of rape or another sexual assault after consensual sex. Often, when this happens, the accuser is trying to protect his or her own reputation, at the expense of yours. Sometimes there's a spouse involved who has just learned of the affair.
The Evidence Itself Can Be Attacked
Even innocuous photographs can be suddenly seen in a bad light, and become "proof" of your alleged sexual crimes. Those photographs of your 3 year old playing in the tub or streaking toward bed were just happy memories of good times, but now they're looming large in the hands of the prosecution as "evidence" of sexual abuse. Your attorney can challenge the way that evidence was collected from computer files and other records, and stop illegally obtained evidence from being used against you.
The Victim's Memory May Have Been Tainted
One of the hardest things to understand about false allegations of sexual abuse is that not everyone who makes them realizes they are false. Children sometimes really believe that something happened, but the memories are false, built off of suggestions made by (usually) well-meaning police, therapists, teachers, and other adults. Your attorney may examine the issue of taint through pre-trial motions or hearings in order to expose the situations that led to the tainted evidence.
If you've been accused, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately, so that you can start discussing your situation and possible defense strategies right away. Your freedom and future depend on it.Share