criminal defense

Victims of False Rape Allegations Beginning to Get Justice

December 21, 2011

Rape is an extremely serious crime.  The psychological effects that it can have on a victim are severe and sometimes lifelong.  Largely because of the severity of this crime, a false rape allegation can have an equally horrific effect upon its victim.  It is not uncommon for victims of false rape allegations to have their reputation damaged irreparably, lose their job or suffer severe marital and family strife- and all this and the accompanying stigma, from no more than an accusation. One of the reasons that a mere allegation can have such a devastating effect comes from the very nature of a rape accusation: rape has been recognized as the easiest criminal allegation to make by an alleged victim, and the hardest to disprove by the accused.  Sadly, even if the victim of the false allegation is eventually completely vindicated, oftentimes the irreparable damage is already done.  Unfortunately, it’s more common than one might think: the attorneys at Pappalardo & Pappalardo – Westchester, New York’s premier criminal defense firm – see it all the time.

For this reason, the statistics involving false rape allegations are particularly disturbing.  One study conducted by Professor Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University concluded that 41 % of all reported rapes were false allegations.  The number of false claims is likely even higher, as this study only credited recanted accusations as false; acquittals were not considered false accusations for the purposes of the study.  Other studies around the country have confirmed the disturbing finding that nearly half of all rape allegations are false.  The fact that a rape claim has as much chance of being true as it does of being false is particularly troubling given law enforcement’s current policy of pressing charges on all claims, regardless of merit, and hoping that the false claims will somehow sort themselves out somewhere down the line.  Therefore, while every rape allegation deserved to be taken seriously, false rape allegations need to be defended with equal vigor, and as early in the process as possible.

That is where the law firm of Pappalardo & Pappalardo comes in.  We have decades of experience in handling the defense of false rape allegations and other sex crimes.  In one of many such cases handled by Pappalardo & Pappalardo, our client was not only completely vindicated, but the false accuser was charged by the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office with offering a false instrument for filing and required her to pay her victim’s legal and investigator fees as restitution.

One encouraging sign in this troubling trend is that courts are beginning to catch on, and deal with false accusers harshly; take for example a recent case reported on by the New York Times.  The false accuser in this case was convicted of perjury and now faces 2 1/3-7 years in prison.  Her victim was vindicated and released from prison, but not until he had spent more than two years there for a crime he did not commit.  This just goes to show that if you find yourself the victim of a false rape accusation, the stakes that you are dealing with could be measured in years of your life.