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False rape claim doesn't end man's NFL dream, part 2

In the last post, we left off with a teenager who was accused of sexual assault years ago and decided to plead no contest to the charge. It wasn't an admission of guilt to plead that way; rather, it was a way to avoid more time in prison should the defendant be found guilty in trial.

Deciding to plead no contest or to take a plea deal isn't an easy decision for a criminal defendant, especially someone who is charged with a sex crime. Sex crimes come with an everlasting stigma, and even if a person is found not guilty of a charge he can still face hardships with regards to his reputation and career. Fortunately, the defendant in this case is at least being given a chance to pursue his dream despite his history as a rape defendant.

After the man had served five years in prison for his rape conviction, his accuser came forward to admit that she had lied. She was never sexually assaulted by the defendant. The conviction is now erased from the man's record and he is no longer a registered sex offender. Not only is he free of the sex offender title, but he could be on his way to his dream title of NFL player.

Before the sad turn of events disrupted the young man's life, he had dreams of becoming a professional football player. The opportunity might have come later in his life, but his dedication to his dream despite his legal hardships has earned him various upcoming tryouts with different NFL teams.

This is a happy ending to a dramatic story. The case is a reminder that defendants need to be given the benefit of the doubt. This man was convicted of rape to later be proven innocent. When a person is merely accused of such a crime, the public must assume that he is innocent until proven guilty. As we have shared before, false allegations are not uncommon in rape cases.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Man whose rape conviction was overturned invited to NFL tryouts," May 30, 2012

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