Little could be more stressful and have a greater impact on someone’s good name, career or business than a false allegation of sexual assault. Anger, fear of the unknown and a feeling of being disgraced are emotions that often arise when someone is arrested and faces a sexual assault charge. A false allegation of sexual assault can easily destroy your reputation in your community and unfortunately, may result in children and other family members being teased or ostracized, making life miserable for them. If you are arrested and charged with sexual assault, you need lawyers who understand the full spectrum of problems that you may be presented with, and who will represent you with compassion and courage.
The Crown prosecutor is tasked with prosecuting even the most flimsy and questionable sexual assault claims. Once a sexual assault is reported, the police have little or no discretion and must make an arrest. Law enforcement officers must pursue any and all allegations of sexual assault, from unwanted patting or grabbing another person’s buttocks to an accusation of rape.
Professions Most Likely to be The Victim of False Allegations of Sexual Assault
The crime of sexual assault gained national attention in recent years because of media coverage given to the trial of former CBC Radio and TV host Jian Ghomeshi. Even more prominent due to the sheer number of claims over a long time span, allegations of priests who allegedly sexually assaulted minors dominated the news on television and in newspapers.
People who are in a position of authority are more likely to be the victim of false allegations of sexual assault. If you are employed in any of the following professions you are advised to be particularly diligent in ensuring that you do not do or say anything that could give the impression of impropriety and encourage a person to falsely accuse you of sexual assault. Clergy, police officers, doctors, dentists and teachers need to be vigilant when interacting with the public as they are sometimes easy targets of false sexual abuse allegations.
Patients are frequently required to remove their clothing when being examined by a doctor. This places a potential complainant in a compromising and defenceless position. In order to do their job, a doctor is sometimes required to examine the private parts of their patient. If the doctor and patient are alone in the examination room, it would be easy for an unscrupulous person to make false allegations of unwanted sexual touching. In order to eliminate such allegations, it is recommended that a female nurse or medical assistant is present in the room 100% of the time, to provide a sexual assault defence with eyewitness testimony should a false sexual assault allegation occur. False sexual assault allegations occur far more often against male doctors, which is the reason why it is important to have a female assistant present. Hospitals have sensitivity training to educate doctors as to what might constitute unwanted sexual touching and how to avoid such situations.
Dentists often practice in a private setting, often with a staff limited to a single dental assistant. A dentist visit may require a patient to be sedated and thus the patient would be unable to fend off a sexual assault. It is possible for a dentist’s patient to mistakenly think that unwanted sexual touching occurred while recovering from the fog of anesthesia or gas. Like a medical examination, a dentist should make sure a female dental assistant is in the room at all times. This will make the patient more comfortable and also provide the dentist with eyewitness testimony should a false sexual assault allegation present itself.
– School Teachers, Professors and Clergy
Any profession where an adult has frequent contact and authority over young adults or children can create circumstances that may lead to a false accusation of sexual assault. A student could point to a need for a better grade as a justification for the false allegation of sexual assault. In addition to school teachers and professors, sports coaches, scoutmasters and those in the clergy are vulnerable.
Because false sexual abuse allegations can be leveled on a “he said, she said” basis, it is critical that you are never alone with a minor or student over whom you have authority. The mere appearance of impropriety could encourage a false accusation of sexual assault or unwanted sexual touching. It is difficult to prove a false sexual assault allegation if you were never alone in the same room with the complainant. Teachers, professors and coaches are urged to avoid one on one private meetings with students after school or behind closed doors.
If a surveillance video camera is installed in ‘public’ locations where a teacher, tutor or coach may teach an individual student, such as a gym, hallway or skating rink, teachers and coaches can protect themselves with video evidence in the event that there is a claim of sexual assault.
– Celebrities and Professional Athletes
Celebrities and professional athletes are targets of false sexual abuse allegations not only due to their wealth but also because of the fame and publicity the accuser may seek. Wealthy and naive professional athletes are sometimes accused of luring a complainant into their hotel rooms and once there, sexually assaulting them. Without concern for the potential damage to the accused’s reputation and life, a complainant may simply fabricate a story claiming to have said ‘no’ while in the act of having sex, perhaps with the hope of later seeking financial compensation in a civil action for the alleged sexual assault.
– Police Officers
Police officers are sometimes wrongly accused of sexual assault. Sometimes, individuals attempt to bribe a police officer with sexual favors in order to get out of an expensive traffic ticket or an unwelcome trip to jail. As they are often required to physically restrain a person who has allegedly committed a crime, a police officer cannot always avoid unwanted physical contact. Having a partner present who can give eyewitness testimony can help to fend off false charges of sexual assault.
Police officers throughout Canada have begun wearing body cameras to fully record their interactions with the public and to provide them with hard evidence of what actually happened during the incident in question.
– Workplace Managers
A manager of a company could be accused of sexual assault by a disgruntled employee or for other reasons. A male manager, in particular, should take steps to ensure that they are not alone with another employee after working hours when everyone else has left to go home, as this provides a setting for the false sexual abuse allegation. Company memos stating that employees are required to leave at a prescribed time can help in your defence. Companies are advised to implement sensitivity training programs that make management aware of what is and what isn’t appropriate office behavior. A sexual assault defendant can point to his participation in such a program to aid in his defence.
It is a good idea to never touch another employee in any way whatsoever; nor should one make jokes or verbal suggestions of sexual assault. This is particularly true in the case of female employees, although false accusations of sexual assault are by no means confined to male boss/female employee relationships. Workers have also been known to falsely accuse a co-worker of sexual assault for various reasons, which may include being rejected romantically.
Although more commonly made against individuals in a position of authority, sometimes with the intent to sue the person or the business/organization, a false sexual assault allegation can be made by any person and against any other person. A complainant making a false sexual assault allegation is rarely prosecuted as they will continue to assert that the sexual assault occurred no matter how insubstantial or doubtful their case may be.
Medical professionals, celebrities, teachers, coaches and the clergy must live with, and protect against the fact that they are potential targets of false allegations of sexual assault. If you have been accused of sexual assault, call Kruse Law today for a free consultation and to review the facts of your case. Allow our experienced team of sexual assault defence lawyers to speak for you and build a strong defence in order to effectively fight this charge.