Several weeks ago, my phone rang after midnight. On the other end was a
father. He was very scared. His 19-year-old son had just left a police
interview room after several hours. He was accused of forcibly raping
an acquaintance. The boy faced up to 25 years in prison – longer
than he had been alive.
When I met with the family, I learned that the young man had a bright future.
He was well educated, was working, and would soon enter the United States
Marine Corps. He told me he had met a girl, they had gone on a date and
eventually had sex. Next thing he knows, she says he made her do it. He
asked me what this could mean for him. I told him what the legal outcome
of a conviction would be. Then, I watched as his hope for the future left his face.
My investigation showed that the girl had accused multiple people of
rape in past, and the reports had been unfounded. We were able to uncover emails
that showed the "victim" threatening false allegations of sexual
abuse or domestic violence if men she knew did not give her what she wanted.
We also learned that she had nearly overdosed on prescription drugs the
day she reported the alleged rape. The case was recently closed as an
unreliable report. The family can now move forward.
The case has made me think long and hard about our criminal system. With
a less experienced attorney or private investigator, evidence could have
been missed. Even with strong evidence of innocence, many police investigators
or prosecutors would have turned a blind eye and proceeded toward trial
anyway (see the
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case). It is hard to believe the hell brought to a family by with a few lies
to a police officer. As a former prosecutor, I truly understand that horrible
things happen behind closed doors and the experience of the victim is
sometimes all the evidence that exists. This case has made me question
whether there is a better way.
For now, I am thankful for the hard work of my investigator, the honesty
and helpfulness of the past victims of false allegations that helped us
secure evidence of innocence, and the professionalism of the investigator
and assistant district attorney who agreed to take a second look at the facts.
If you have questions about rape or sexual abuse allegations, contact our
Rochester sex crime defense lawyer by phone at (585) 466-0281 or online for a
free case evaluation.
For other case outcomes from our office,