Sexual abuse accusations are very serious and can turn the accused’s life upside down. If those accusations are false, then the person will suffer under the damage to their reputation for a very long time to come even if the charges are later found to be false. Unfortunately, false accusation are not all that uncommon during especially nasty divorces and custody battles and it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who fully understands the dynamics that can lead to such devastating accusations and how best to deal with them. In an attempt to gain custody one parent may accuse the other of sexual abuse of the children thinking the courts will surely not grant custody to a parent accused of such a heinous crime. The accuser rarely thinks ahead to the months and potentially years of problems they are creating for their ex because of a false statement, or perhaps they do think ahead and deliberately set out to ruin the other parent.
The Most Common Reasons for False Allegations
In addition to bitter divorce proceedings and child custody disputes, suggestive or leading questioning by police officers or other authority figures can also be responsible for false accusations of sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse. Other possible scenarios included false memories which are intentionally placed by an unscrupulous therapist, an out-of-control teenager seeking revenge or a younger child who is engaging in blatant attention seeking. When divorced parents subsequently begin dating new romantic partners a child may react in jealousy and anger and make false accusations of sexual abuse as a way of “getting back” at the adults. In the same vein, when new stepparents attempt to enforce discipline boundaries the children may react with resentment and may make false allegations in retaliation. Drug or alcohol abuse by the falsely accused person or by the young person making the allegations can also result in false allegations and shattered lives.
What You Should Not Do if You Have Been Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
As with virtually any criminal charges, but particularly in this instance you should absolutely not speak to a police officer, CPS worker or any other employee from an agency who could later testify against you until you have retained an experienced criminal defense attorney. By the same token, refrain from confiding in friends or relatives without prior approval from your attorney. Most particularly do not attempt to talk to the alleged victim, even though your strongest instinct may be pushing you to ask them why they would make such accusations against you. What you say in a moment of shock and frustration can come back to haunt you for a very long time. Understandably you are reeling from the false accusations, however remain as calm as possible and only tell those questioning you that you have done nothing wrong but cannot speak to them until your attorney is present. Although social workers and police ostensibly are conducting a fair and impartial investigation in reality they are merely seeking evidence to put you in prison.
Why You Should Not Attempt to Handle Such Accusations on Your Own
While you may be tempted to simply ride out the storm, thinking that because the accusations are untrue, the truth will eventually come out and you will be vindicated do not do this! A knowledgeable attorney who has prior experience in false accusations of sexual abuse will understand the necessary steps in analyzing the evidence and following the rules of evidence while defending your rights intelligently and aggressively. Don’t let false allegations of sexual abuse destroy your life and land you in prison, rather take the necessary precautions to safeguard your future.