She never believed I had done anything to be arrested for. She never believed that charges would be pressed against me. She never believed that I would lose my job. She never believed that I would end up on the sex offender registry. She only thought that she would have me out of the house, with her in complete charge of our children, and that by doing so, she would be in a much stronger position for the decision on custody, visitation, and division of property.
“Out of over 400 cases in which we have provided expert consultation involving sexual abuse in the past six years, 40% were divorce and custody cases.” &emdash; [Source Name]
My ex-wife actually initially filed for the restraining order based on her statement that I had been raping her for the previous nine months since, unbeknown to me, she had decided that she no longer wanted to share sex with me. When she told the courts that we had not been sexual in more than six weeks from when she made her claim, they refusal to grant the order. After talking again with the District Attorney, she then added within the complaint statement that I had “inappropriately touched our children”. That was enough to grant the restraining order that removed me from our home, but it also started the process of a major sex crime investigation.
A week later, she was required to take our two children to be examined in a special child sex offense investigation center. A “therapist” who used very loaded questions conducted the interview, while a word-by-word transcript was made and my ex-wife and a detective watched through a one-way mirror. Unfortunately, the examining site offers a web page, which discusses sample questions that will be used, and the types of things that would likely indicate abuse. I fully believe that my daughter was prepared for the interview. On the web page they said they were looking for “skin to skin” contact and my daughter at one point in the interview said without being prompted, that her body and mine had touched “skin to skin”. She also told them, beyond what was asked, that she knew that semen came up from the testicles and out the same place pee did. Most interesting in this was that my six year old or for that matter virtually no six year old would even know the word semen. Yes, at the time of my ex-wife’s accusations, our daughter was just six years old.
My attorney said that the prosecution was very “skeptical” about introducing anything from this sex offense examination since they questioned the results themselves and my own attorney said that there was nothing said in the sex offense interviews with either of my two children that would convict me. My nine-year-old son was also interviewed and his answers to similar questions didn’t indicate even a glimmer of inappropriate parenting and in fact seemed like a glowing recommendation of an involved father in his children’s activities. It all ultimately came down to my ex-wife’s word against mine.
The following week, my ex-wife went in to the District Attorney and told her that she had falsely accused me. Instead of having the charges dropped, my ex-wife was given the option to testify against me, or be charged herself with perjury. This fact was not told to me prior to my hearing, but was relayed to me by my probation officer who couldn’t understand how I had been convicted so quickly so he had a talk with the District Attorney himself.
Now lets look at the options that were open to me. I was removed from my house and while the description on the filing read that she was accusing me of rape, it also had the additional line about “inappropriate touching of the children”. This scared me enough to seek legal advice, so I retained an attorney. Two weeks later, I was asked to come in to the police department for questioning, but my attorney said not to talk with them at all, so when I told them I had an attorney, I was told to report to be arrested. The following day was the grand jury with the setting of bond. I was bonded out by a friend and back to work that afternoon.
One week later, I was offered a plea, to accept one year in jail and two years of probation on a single charge. My attorney needed an immediate answer, so I paused to pray, and asked God if it were His will for me to take this plea for something I hadn’t done. I said, if He wanted me to accept the plea, He needed to make my mouth say “yes”. I looked up at my attorney and told him “NO”.
The next week, I was told my then wife had “begged the District Attorney to save our family” so they offered a second plea to accept 30 days in jail and two years probation, again with only a single charge. Now this decision was weighed against the thirty-six counts I had been charged with and was told by my attorney would result in a sixty-six year prison sentence if I were convicted at trial. He said I would likely not be released till I had served forty-four years. I was already fifty-eight at the time, so I would have to live to be over one hundred to ever see freedom again. This was a virtual life sentence for something I hadn’t done.
On top of that, was the fact that I would have to sign a lean for fifty thousand dollars against our house, thus spending all the equity we had in our home just to have the money to fight the case. The finial consideration was the truth I knew from watching Perry Mason cases when I was a young boy, that a wife is never required to testify against their husband. In my case, her testimony being the only case against me, would put me in the position where a jury would naturally assume since the wife isn’t required to testify and yet does, that “she must know the truth”, where actually it was her lies that had us in this position in the first place.
This time, I was given three days to decide, so after meeting with three ministers I know, the elders from my church, and the men in my Men’s Bible study, I was convinced that like my ex-wife, I needed to lie to the courts and accept the plea, even though I was innocent of all charges. Yes, every single Christian friend and adviser told me I needed to lie to the courts.
I wrote out a personal statement that I wanted to make to the court, but was told that if I made that statement, my plea would be rejected and I would spend the rest of my life in prison. In fact, that is what my attorney constantly told me, that I must do as he said or I would spend the rest of my life in jail. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t bother to get the plea deal that was offered in writing, so on the day of my plea hearing, only two weeks after being charged and only one month after being removed from my home, the plea was changed to three counts and six years probation rather than the single count and two years probation. The conviction also added all of the sex offender registration and requirements of special probation with therapy, GPS monitoring, and numerous other restrictions. I was never told about or made aware of any of these additional requirements that went along with the plea deal until I arrived at the probation office the day I accepted the plea. I did not even know there was such a thing as a sex offender registry. Not my attorney nor any of those I talked with about accepting the plea ever mentioned or even hinted that accepting this plea could require me to be put on the registry.
Only six weeks after my plea deal, my ex-wife filed for divorce. I have not been allowed to see my daughter for almost seven years and must pay $50.00 every other week for one a one hour supervised visitation, to see my now sixteen-year-old son.
So, how often do false accusations occur? Of the 100 rapes reported, 2 to as many as 8 are false accusations. This 2% – 8% false accusation rate was applied only to the number of reported rapes.
Source: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf page 2: “when more methodologically rigorous research has been conducted, estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.”
Thoennes and Pearson 198.8 estimate that accusations of sexual abuse are found in 2% to 10% of contested custody cases. There is not agreement as to how many of these cases turn out to be false but most of the estimates range from a third to four-fifths. Everyone agrees, however, that the proportion of false allegations is higher when they arise in divorce and custody disputes.
“Out of over 400 cases in which we have provided expert consultation involving sexual abuse in the past six years, 40% were divorce and custody cases.” Source: Sixth Annual Symposium in Forensic Psychology
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD and RALPH UNDERWAGER
Institute for Psychological Therapies
How are women rewarded for making false allegations?
They get attention. The person they hate is punished. They receive social approval. We all hate abusers and pedophiles, right? Look at that courageous woman who’s fighting to protect her child! Female false accusers may also receive free legal representation, welfare payments, free counseling and other support services and support from their own family, friends and neighbors — in other words, even more attention (Wakefield & Underwager, 1990).
Furthermore, there are very little, if any consequences for women who make false allegations in family court (Green & Schetky, 1988). Ultimately, the false accuser has far more to gain than she has to lose.
What happens to men when they’re falsely accused?
Many men experience a very rude awakening when they enter the justice system via false allegations. Perhaps the truth will prevail, but typically not without a considerable amount of collateral damage to themselves and their children.
When a man is accused of abusing a woman or child, any concept of due process and “innocent until proven guilty” flies out the window. Men are assumed guilty until proven innocent when a woman cries abuse or rape. False allegations can turn a difficult divorce into full out nuclear war.
What are the most common identifiable characteristics of false allegation cases?
Ross and Blush (1987; 1990) have found certain patterns that characterize false allegation cases. For instance:
- The allegations start after separation and legal action commences.
- There’s a history of family dysfunction with high-conflict and other hidden underlying issues.
- Again, the female accuser is often a histrionic or borderline personality.
- The female accuser takes an angry, defensive and justifying stance.
- The accused male parent is generally nurturing, passive and lacks “macho” characteristics.
- In alleged sexual molestation cases, the child is typically a female under the age of 8.
- The allegations surface via the custodial parent who is typically the mother.
- The mother takes the child to an “expert” who corroborates the abuse and identifies the father as the culprit.
- The court reacts to the expert information by terminating or limiting visitation.
What wasn’t included in the above list is that generally the person accused is charged and more often than not, convicted of a crime they didn’t do, or may be forced under huge amounts of pressure, some from their own attorney, to just accept a plea offer and accept a much lower level punishment.
Ross and Blush also determined there are primarily three types of false accusers: the histrionic, the justified vindicator and the borderline.
The histrionic personality appears anxious and presents herself as the victim of her ex. She describes herself as physically and/or psychologically abused by her ex and worries that the children are also in danger of being victimized from him. She projects or superimposes her feelings, fears and distortions onto the children. She seems to have “unusual and inappropriate” sexual concerns about the children and may regularly examine the children’s genitals and take them for frequent medical examinations.
The justified vindicator initially presents as assertive and organized with a justifiable argument supported by “facts, figures and opinions supporting her evidence.” She comes across as outraged and worried about her ex’s behavior. However, as most high-conflict types do, she becomes resistant, hostile and passive-aggressive or overtly aggressive upon cross-examination of her claims. She’s likely to try to discredit any evaluator or law enforcement official that questions her assertions and may threaten to sue or file an ethics complaint.
The borderline personality has intense and chaotic interpersonal relationships and is prone to intense valuation and devaluation. They will attempt to punish others who they believe have abandoned or hurt them. False allegations are a highly effective way of doing this.
So what are the most important things to consider if one is falsely accused?
“If you have been falsely accused, you may wonder: How serious are the charges? What am I supposed to do? How can I prove that I am innocent? What are my rights and legal options?”
“Realize the importance of false accusations. If you have been accused of a criminal sexual offense, the consequences will likely be very serious. Many people who are falsely accused experience a period of denial about the magnitude of these charges. You might think, “Well, I didn’t do it, so the charges can’t be serious.” Unfortunately, the charges, however false, should not be taken lightly. What you do today will greatly effect the outcome of a false accusation. If you fail to take the right steps now, you may suffer significant legal ramifications in the future.
“Prepare for the costs of your defense. If you have been falsely accused of a serious crime, such as rape, sexual abuse, or domestic violence, there is a good chance you will face criminal charges with a high risk of conviction. Building a strong defense case will take time and money. Expert witnesses will be necessary, special psychological tests may be required, and other evidence may need to be collected. Any promise of a cheap and easy way to defend yourself against serious allegations will probably cost you a lot more in the long run. Especially if your defense is inadequate and the court convicts you of the crime you didn’t even commit!”
Source: Criminal Law / Lawyer: http://www.criminal-law-lawyer-source.com/tips/false-accusation.html
It is estimated that False Accusations of Sexual Allegations occur at a rate of 2% – 8% of the time, but when these same accusations occur within six months prior to or following a divorce where custody is or will be an issue, that estimate rises to as high as 40% of the time. All sexual convictions that arise from these false accusations either by conviction or through the acceptance of plea-bargains usually also include the associated punishment of being required to register as a sex offender.