It’s not pretty and it’s not fair, but it does happen- false accusations of rape. Petty people sometimes misuse the grave charge of rape to gain an upper hand, seek revenge, or otherwise hurt another person. The consequences of a false accusation can be disastrous, even if the wrongfully accused is later acquitted.
Consider the case of singer-songwriter Conor Oberst, who was falsely accused of sexual assault by a woman claiming Oberst raped her when she was a teenager. He denied the charges and filed a libel suit against the woman. Even though she later recanted the story, the damage had been done. Oberst’s name had been tarnished and editorials were written chastising him for filing the libel suit, and refusing to acknowledge that he had been the victim in the incident.
Due to the repulsive nature of the rape, claims of false allegations of the crime draw ire from supporters of victim’s rights. However, it is unacceptable to believe false accusations never occur. Statistics on false allegations of rape are particularly hard to measure because the crime itself sometimes involves one person’s word against another, or unclear definitions about what constitutes rape and consensual sex.
Some statistics from feminist groups show the rate of false accusations as low as 2 percent. While some police precincts have become notorious for having an exceptionally high rate of supposedly unfounded rape charges- as high as approximately 30 percent. The truth, however, is most likely somewhere in between these two extremes.
A 2010 examination into all 136 reports of sexual assault on a northeastern university campus over a 10-year period, showed 19 cases contained insufficient evidence to assess an outcome. Of the 117 that could be classified, eight (6.8%) were decided to be false accusations, by means of sufficient evidence to refute the account. Over 40 percent of the reports that could be classified were resolved with disciplinary action or criminal charges. While fully half, 52%, were investigated and closed. Many of these cases were closed due to insufficient evidence or lack of continuing cooperation from the complainant.
Wrongful allegations- those made up to deliberately hurt, or those based on misunderstandings about what constitutes consensual sex- can all have catastrophic results. Those accused have been incarcerated for years, only to be exonerated when their accuser recants their story, careers ruined, and families torn apart.
Seeking justice for victims of sexual assault should remain a priority, but not at the expense of ignoring the fact that false accusations do take place. As a society, we must find a way to show support to victims of sexual assault, while recognizing that those who are unfairly accused are victims too.
Contact Boulder Rape Defense Lawyers
If you are wrongly charged with rape, it is important to understand the severity of these charges and begin building a strong defense immediately. An experienced Boulder rape defense lawyer can help protect your rights and can shed light on the false allegations. The quicker these charges are dismissed – the better. Do not delay. 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.