Last December, a woman wrote a comment on a website accusing well-known singer and songwriter Conor Oberst of raping her when she was a teenager. Word spread quickly, and Mr. Oberst had to bring a lawsuit against the woman, who eventually admitted that she made up the whole story just to gain online fame. Luckily for Mr. Oberst, he had the necessary resources to clear his name, but people criticized him for pursuing legal action in the first place. For many men falsely accused of rape, they do not even have the resources to fight in this way. So how do you combat this problem?
Frequency of False Allegations of Rape
False allegations of rape are estimated to account for between 2% and 8% of all rape reports. Not all rapes that are classified as “unfounded” are actually false, however. Sometimes the woman recants the story, or is not believed, or her story cannot be corroborated. This of course furthers the debate and sharpens the issue and areas of disagreement between men and women.
Is there a Gray Area?
The more difficult alleged rape cases we defend clients for are those that involve alcohol or drugs, and misunderstandings of what actually is a sexual assault. Sometimes in these situations the allegations are real and horrific, and might involve date rape drugs or multiple fraternity members. Sometimes, however, there are cases like that which occurred at Hofstra University in 2009, where a female claimed to be raped by several male students, but cell phone video later surfaced and proved consent. Sometimes accusations are made as a result of hurt feelings or to get back at those who treated someone poorly. There is never an acceptable reason to falsely claim rape, however, as such an allegation actually can ruin someone’s life.
How False Rape Allegations Can Affect Your Life
If someone is falsely accusing you of rape, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The results can be devastating. In the worst-case scenario, you could actually end up being convicted based on a false rape allegation and get sent to prison. There are numerous examples of men serving time in prison only to be exonerated years later, either as a result of DNA evidence or as a result of the false accuser feeling guilty and coming forward. Brian Banks, a California high school football star, was sent to prison as the result of a false rape allegation, which was recanted only after he served five years in prison.
How to Fight False Rape Accusations
It is imperative that you take any false accusation or hint that there will be a false allegation of rape very seriously. While it may seem ridiculous to you, the accusation alone can lead to a loss of employment or even freedom. It is imperative that you immediately hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney in such a situation and discuss your next move. Ozols Law Firm can advise and defend you against false rape allegations, and help figure out the next steps going forward. Call or fill out our online contact form now for a consultation, and let Mr. Ozols help protect your reputation and your freedom. In no event should you be interviewed by the police without legal counsel, and you should entirely avoid your accuser.