Defending against false accusations of sexual assault or rape
In a case of rape or sexual assault, the prosecution may subtly encourage jurors to assume the “victim” is telling the truth because, “Why would anyone make up something so terrible and subject herself to this grueling legal process?” This is an insidious question. In my experience as a Boston criminal defense lawyer, there are a number of reasons a “victim” might make a false accusation of rape or sexual assault, including:
To save face: An alleged victim may have accused the defendant of sexual assault after the defendant rejected the victim’s advances, or as a means of explaining behavior she engaged in voluntarily, but is ashamed of in the light of a new day.
To deflect accusations of an affair: Embarrassment or feelings of guilt may also serve as a motive if the alleged victim and the defendant were having an affair. The alleged victim may make a false accusation after the defendant’s spouse learns of the affair, rather than be seen as someone who would have an illicit affair.
To seek revenge: Vindictiveness can be a powerful motivator. An alleged victim might make a false accusation of sexual assault or rape to take revenge against the defendant for any type of perceived slight or wrong.
Moreover, once a false accusation is made, it can be very difficult for the “victim” to withdraw it without great shame and embarrassment, both private and public. An alleged victim may face criminal charges for making a false police report or a civil lawsuit for slander. She may worry about losing the support of her family and friends if she admits to a false accusation. Accordingly, it can be difficult to persuade an alleged victim to take back a false claim of sexual assault.
If you have been falsely accused of rape or sexual assault, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to investigate the facts underlying the charge and expose the victim’s motives. If you would like to discuss your case with the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group, please contact us for a free consultation.
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- Massachusetts House Passes Major Criminal Justice Bill - December 7, 2017