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The complications of sexual assault cases

An article about sexual assault and domestic violence allegations at an Ivy League college out east presents a bleak picture of what sometimes occurs on our college campuses. However, it also tells a story about how false reports of these crimes can sometimes interfere with the abilities of officials and institutions to deal with the circumstances.

Though the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has suggested that as many as 20 percent of women and 1.5 percent of men are presumably the victims of some sort of sexual assault during their lifetimes, the NIJ also suggests that anywhere between 2 to 10 percent of allegations of sexual assault may be false. Putting this number into perspective, that could mean a large number of individuals charged with sexual assault in the courts have been falsely accused.

Another complication concerning these types of cases is the environment in which the allegations originated. Many times on college campuses, individuals meet at social events and consume alcohol, and this can result in miscommunications. And under these sorts of circumstances, one's impressions of what has happened may be different from that of another person. It is also not always possible to know if the other individual is or is not intoxicated, and this can also lead to problems in discovering precisely what occurred.

The job of criminal defense attorneys goes beyond representing individuals in these sorts of matters. Sometimes it is making determinations and proving up what has actually happened. We cannot convict individuals charged with felonies that may result in years of imprisonment based upon false allegations, hearsay, or misidentifications.

Source: The Brown Daily Herald, "Under the surface: Sexual assault at Brown," by Elizabeth Koh and Alexandra Macfarlane, April 22, 2013

  • Our Denver, Colorado lawyers' website contains backgrounds concerning domestic violence and sexual assault.

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