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Is it a Crime to Falsely Accuse Someone of a Sex Crime?
False accusations of sex crimes can affect a person’s public reputation, livelihood, relationships, mental health, and can cost even their freedom. The first question to consider here is the obvious one: are false accusations illegal?
Legality of False Sex Crime Allegations
The accuser’s intent determines the legality or illegality of the false accusation. If the accuser genuinely has erroneous and misguided beliefs about the accused’s guilt, they are not breaking the law. However, if the accuser is intentionally and purposely making a false accusation about a sex crime, they might be subject to civil or criminal legal proceedings.
The accuser might find themselves guilty of registering false claims, police reports, and false testimony to law enforcement officers and court personnel and judges. Any inaccurate or falsified information, whether a miniscule detail or a false accuser’s entire story given to police can be pursued with criminal proceedings if the falsification is made public to law enforcement.
False police reports and falsified evidence can mean jail time for the accuser. Under Louisiana state law, false accusers face fines of $100-$1000, an imprisonment period of one to five years, or both a fine and an imprisonment period.
False accusers here refer to those individuals who make false statements with the intention of misleading. False accusers of sex crimes can face jail time and fines because of the serious nature of their false charge. Sex crimes are considered criminal offenses and can have permanent consequences.
Sex Crimes in Louisiana
The consumption and possession of child pornography, sexual battery, sexual assault and rape, prostitution, child sexual abuse and molestation, and indecent behavior with a minor or juvenile are all considered sex crimes in the United States and in Louisiana.
There are three tiers for sex offenses in Louisiana where Tier 1 is lowest level of offenses, Tier 2 includes mid-level offenses, and Tier 3 includes the highest level of sex offenses.
Tier 1 offenses include sexual battery, intentional exposition of another person to AIDS, and sexual misconduct between educators and students. Tier 2 offenses include child pornography and human trafficking and solicitation of minors.
Tier 3 offenses include forced or aggravated rape, child kidnapping, incest, and second-degree sexual battery. Tier 1 offenses can get the offenders onto the sex offender registry in Louisiana for 15 years, Tier 2 offenses for 25 years, and Tier 3 for the lifetime.
Potential Motivations for a False Accusation
Researchers state that the likelihood of false reports in sex crimes cases is around 2-10%. In these incidences of false accusations, the accuser could have multiple possible motivations that need to be considered in a defense case.
A person can be falsely accused of a sex crime by strangers, family members, acquaintances, colleagues, or community members. An accuser can lodge a false complaint as personal revenge and as a means of destroying your reputation. A false accusation can even be a case of mistaken identity, wherein the accused is falsely identified or framed as a suspect, or a case of misperceptions of consent during sexual intercourse on part of the accuser.
Within family cases, false sexual misconduct allegations can occur during divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, or as a concealment of extra-marital affairs. Further, false accusations of child-related sexual misconduct can occur if a child is mistaken, a child intentionally lies, or an adult is mistaken or lying about a case of misconduct, possibly to gain custody.
Steps to Take in the Event of a False Accusation
Anyone falsely accused of a sex crime should follow these steps:
The accused should hire a lawyer and have legal counsel present with any encounters with law enforcement. The accused should wait for legal counsel before making any statements to the police to prevent the statements being used against the accused. The accused should not, in fact, speak about the accusations in their social or professional circles either. Anyone falsely accused should contact a sex crimes lawyer who will have specialist knowledge of the area and who will take care of court processes, scheduling, documentation, and evidence.
The accused should take care and avoid or prevent contact with the accuser or alleged victim in the false report, any contact with these parties can exacerbate the situation and can worsen the case for the accused. The accused might be subject to further charges of harassment and their contact with the victim can be used as evidence in court.
The falsely accused should create a detailed and written account of their version of the events and find as many witnesses or supporting evidence as possible. A detailed account should be compiled after the accused has first been charged so that they are able to recall as many details as possible and can use the account as a way to denounce or cross-check the alleged victim’s account of the events.
Legal Recourse for False Accusations of a Sex Crime
A person falsely accused of a sex crime can pursue two major lines of legal defense. The first is to determine consent where the defense counsel can cross-examine the accuser and demonstrate the sexual encounter was consensual and the accusation of non-consent is false.
The second line of defense for a false accusation of a sex crime is to demonstrate that there is insufficient evidentiary support. Most false accusations will have limited evidence to substantiate a lie and the prosecution must prove the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The next steps to take for the defense counsel would be to consider the filing of a civil lawsuit against the accuser of the false claim. However, this type of claim can only occur in the event that the accused is cleared of all charges.
A civil suit may or may not be successful even if charges are cleared, however, a defamation or civil suit might be the best course of action to restore the accused’s reputation. A defamation suits can often be pursued against those people who have made written false accusations.
A falsely accused defendant can even pursue a lawsuit for a false police report incident and a defense attorney can help them gain compensatory damages.
Legal Support for False Sex Crime Charges
Are you looking for legal counsel for a false accusation of a sex crime? The criminal defense team at the law offices of Gaynell Williams Law can offer support. We are open to provide legal counsel and assistance to all persons who are falsely accused at our offices based in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the Law Office of Gaynell Williams, L.L.C., we have the experience you need to defend those individuals who have been charged with a crime or who have been falsely accused.
Contact Us Today
Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.
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