Sex offense crimes are unique among criminal cases in that they often proceed on very little physical evidence. Instead, many of these cases rely on mere allegations of illegal conduct.
While the burden of proof always rests with the prosecution, proving that sexual allegations are false can be a challenge. However, there are certain strategies that can be used to expose false sexual assault allegations.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, approximately 8% of all claims of rape are unfounded, meaning they were completely made up. On average, the rate of unfounded claims across all types of crime is 2%.
Thus, rape allegations are about four times as likely to be false when compared to other types of crime. While the FBI only considered forcible rape in its analysis, it stands to reason that other sexual allegations suffer a similarly high rate of fabrication. Other types of sex offenses include:
- Sexual battery;
- Unlawful sexual contact with a minor;
- Sexual imposition (non-consensual sexual contact);
- Gross sexual imposition; and
- Importuning (solicitation and prostitution).
However, the prosecution does not need to have physical evidence to prove someone guilty of a sex offense. State and federal rules of evidence consider a witnesses’ testimony equivalent to physical evidence.
Thus, at least in theory, a conviction for a sex offense can stand on one person’s testimony. Thus, anyone facing an Ohio sex crime should immediately discuss their case with an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop an effective defense, regardless of whether the allegations are false.
Defending Against False Sexual Assault Allegations
Sexual assault allegations are not unlike other crimes in that there are several defenses that can defeat a prosecution’s case. However, selecting the best defense requires a thorough review of the prosecution’s evidence. Below are some of the more common defenses to Ohio sex crimes.
Many sex crimes require the prosecution to prove that the defendant committed the sexual act, forming the basis of the offense without the alleged victim’s consent.
Thus, presenting evidence that the encounter was consensual will often defeat the prosecution’s case. However, consent is not a valid defense in every sex assault case.
Specifically, if the alleged victim was a minor, incapacitated, or suffered from a mental illness, proving consent will not help you avoid a guilty verdict. Similarly, consent is invalid if it was obtained through force or coercion, including through the use of drugs or alcohol.
Given that 8% of reported rapes are unfounded, one of the most common defenses to sexual assault charges involves challenging the alleged victim’s credibility. This can be done either by claiming the alleged victim’s testimony was intentionally false or was the result of a mistake. For example, the following can help prove an accuser’s story isn’t true.
An alibi is a complete defense to a criminal charge. When you run an alibi defense, you claim that you were somewhere else when the alleged crime occurred.
In some cases, this requires you to testify to your whereabouts. However, you can also have the person you were with testify on your behalf. Alternatively, cell phone records or work records may be used to prove you were not at the scene of the alleged crime.
Most false claims of sexual assault involve a personal issue between the alleged victim and the defendant. For example, if your partner finds out you had an affair, they may file false accusations of sexual assault to get back at you. While often an effective strategy, this approach requires special care so as not to appear callous in front of the jury.
If you were physically incapable of committing the alleged offense, you can present medical records in your defense. For example, if you are unable to have sex due to a medical condition, it will cast doubt on the alleged victim’s claim that they were raped.
While this is not the most common defense, it does come up on occasion—and when it does, it is often very effective.
Illegally Obtained Statements
In some sex assault cases, the prosecution relies on statements the defendant made to detectives. However, detectives must satisfy certain constitutional requirements before taking a defendant’s statement.
For example, if a detective takes an official statement from you without reading your Miranda rights to you, the statement may not be admissible at trial.
These are just a few of the various ways to expose false sexual assault claims. To learn more about other possible defenses and what may work best in your case, contact an experienced Ohio sex assault defense lawyer.
Are You Facing Sex Assault Allegations?
If you are accused of sexual assault, showing that the accusations are false can be challenging. However, it is possible with the assistance of an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., we have more than 50 years of combined experience standing up for our clients’ rights.
We have successfully resolved countless cases on behalf of clients across Ohio, and look forward to speaking with you to see how we can help. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, give us a call or connect with us through our online contact form today.