Sex crimes are very real and very serious. It would be wrong to minimize in any way how terrible sexual harassment and assault are or how commonplace they are. That being said, there is no unmitigated good in our world. Every good thing can be tinged with something bad, and the #Metoo movement is no exception. While the movement itself is important and necessary, unfortunately, there are always those willing to take advantage of a good thing to hurt others. Sometimes false accusations are made to get revenge for something else, to be vindictive or petty, to get attention, or even just for “fun.” However, false accusations can ruin a person’s life and even necessitate a criminal defense from a qualified law firm.
How Prevalent Are False Accusations?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to say with any certainty what the rate of false accusations is. A study done by United Educators found that in the last five years there has been an enormous increase in the number of claims of sexual assault just at colleges and universities across the United States. In the course of the study, United Educators found that almost 70% of those accused of sexual assault claimed that the investigating school failed to follow their own clearly stated disciplinary procedures when handling the case. While this says nothing about how many of the accused might be innocent, it does suggest that, at the very least, some colleges prefer to take the easy route and assume guilt rather than follow their own procedures to ensure that no one is being accused unfairly.
What Should I Do If I Am Falsely Accused?
If you have been accused of sex crimes or a sex offense and know yourself to be innocent, it is very important that you protect yourself and aggressively answer any and all charges in order to protect your future and your reputation. Your first call should be to a qualified law firm. After that, here are couple things to be careful about doing:
- Fully cooperate with any investigation. Nothing makes a person look guiltier than a refusal to cooperate. If you hire a law firm, your attorney will certainly insist that you do this anyway. Even if you feel that your privacy is being violated, bear in mind that if you are found guilty your privacy and your future are going to be violated in far worse ways. If you truly are innocent, it is a much better idea to surrender a bit of privacy now in order to safeguard your future.
- If you did anything wrong, admit it. As an example, say that there is a regulation–not a law–forbidding inter-office relationships. You ignored this regulation and carried on a relationship with one of your colleagues. After you broke up, the other party decided to get a little vengeance by accusing you of a sex crime. If you’re innocent of the crime, don’t try to hide the fact that you broke the regulation. It will likely come out anyway, and then it will look like you are a liar. Furthermore, if you admit that you had the relationship, you give the police, investigators, and your law firm a foundation to start asking your accuser if he or she might have a vendetta against you.
- Treat this as important from the very beginning. Understand that defending yourself may come with significant costs and be prepared. Understand that the accusations are very serious. Just because they are false does not mean that you don’t have to deal with them carefully and get a law firm to protect you and your rights
- Document and compile everything that could help you. As soon as you know you’ve been accused, start writing down all the details that you can remember. Consider who might be able to be a witness for you either to your character in general or to the specific events of the moment you’re being accused.
Any kind of sex offense accusation can have serious long-term consequences. Treat it as important, hire a sex crimes defense attorney, and defend yourself vigorously.