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A Young Man's Worst Nightmare - False Rape Allegations

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) 286-5124 or online for a free case evaluation.

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