False Accusations of Rape Can Have Lasting Repercussions
Unfortunately, rape allegations are much easier to make than to disprove. In most cases, the only “witness” is the person making the allegation, and there may even be no need to show medical evidence to support the allegation. Even when DNA shows there was sexual intercourse between the two parties, the question of consent remains, and allegations of rape often boil down to one person’s word against another’s. While rape is a serious issue, and allegations of rape must be taken seriously, too many rape allegations are made in anger, from jealousy, or as retribution for a real or imagined slight.
Many times the alleged victim starts by telling a story of rape to a friend, then the lie grows and grows, taking on a life of its own. The “victim” is given plenty of attention, and by the time the police get involved, the story has been told so often that the details may have shifted over time. This may be the primary way to differentiate between true accounts of rape and false accusations. The person who is actually the victim of rape will seldom alter the details of the account. As the accused, you are responsible for proving the allegations are untrue—no easy feat—or face a potential prison sentence as well as the many other consequences which come with allegations of rape
How Many Allegations of Rape are False?
While there are no solid statistics regarding false claims of rape, most experts agree it is at least 5-8%. A very important caveat to that number exists: In one study of sexual assault claims, nearly 6% were deemed to be false reports, almost half resulted in no prosecution or disciplinary action, a little more than a third were referred for prosecution, and 15% lacked sufficient information to be coded at all. This means we can be reasonably sure that a minority of the claims are absolutely false, and that another minority of the claims are absolutely true, however the vast majority of the rape claims fall into a gray area of “we don’t know whether the claims are true or false.” Other studies turned up roughly the same results, therefore the actual number of false rape allegations may actually be much higher than the 5-8% estimate.
Consequences of False Rape Allegations
There are seldom serious repercussions for a person who has lied about a rape, yet the person who had the allegations made against them will suffer negative consequences again and again. There is a definite social stigma regarding sex crimes, and all too often the public rushes to condemn a person accused of such a crime, completely foregoing our legal premise of “innocent until proven guilty.” Even when the charges are later dropped or recanted, serious damage has been done to your reputation—as an innocent person, you may nonetheless suffer long-term consequences.
The actual charges could show up on your record, for future employers to see, and if convicted of the false charges, the repercussions will be even more severe and long-term. You could be required to register as a sex offender for a number of years—or for life. You could lose the right to obtain a professional license, receive a government loan to go to college, own a firearm, or even rent a home. Finding employment after a rape conviction will become difficult—if not impossible, and you could spend a significant amount of time in jail or even prison.
Many people go into denial mode after being falsely accused of rape. They believe that because they are truly innocent, it will all turn out all right in the end. This is a dangerous belief. If you have been falsely accused of rape, you must speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately, you must take your charges very seriously, and you must heed your Miranda warning. In other words—don’t talk to anyone until you have spoken to a knowledgeable attorney. A skilled criminal defense attorney is well aware of the ramifications of false allegations of rape, and understands the best ways to fight back on your behalf.
Contact Our Boulder Sexual Assault Lawyers
Those accused of rape should never attempt to defend themselves. Instead, it is imperative that you contact a skilled Boulder criminal defense attorney to present the strongest defense possible for you.
If you have been arrested and charged with rape in Denver, Aurora, Boulder, or anywhere in Colorado, contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.