Criminal allegations of any kind have the power to destroy a person’s life, but none more than allegations of sex crimes. When an individual is accused of rape, it may feel as though they are already considered guilty by the public. However, when rape allegations turn out to be false, the accused may be surprised to find out that their exoneration does not necessarily change public opinion. Unfortunately, for many, it may never be possible to fully recover from false rape allegations.
Although it is legal practice for the accused to be considered innocent until proven guilty, it is not always public practice. If history has taught us anything, it is that rape allegations, even those found to be completely false, place an insurmountable amount of stress on the accused. Consider the story of Jay Cheshire, who was exonerated of rape charges in 2015. Despite the fact that allegations were withdrawn just weeks after being made, the resulting investigation and public scrutiny Cheshire experienced forced him to take his own life.
Unfortunately, stories like Cheshire’s are not completely unheard of. Each year, false rape allegations push individuals into the throes of depression and anxiety. During the course of the investigation, no matter how brief, accused individuals suffer intense public examination which often does irreversible damage to their reputation and mental and emotional stability. For many, once rape allegations are found to be false, the accused find it increasingly hard to bounce back both in the public eye and in their private life.
Until laws change offering equal protection to the falsely accused as they offer to the accuser, many of those falsely accused of sex crimes will experience an immense amount of personal struggle. It is incredibly important for individuals accused of rape to immediately seek an experienced criminal defense. While it may be difficult to recover from false rape allegations, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney can help minimize the damage of being falsely accused of rape.