Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment? Here’s What To Do!
Sexual harassment is a severe charge that can adversely affect your life for a long time. Since the #MeToo Movement was launched in 2018, there has been an increase in sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations in the United States. The influx of these accusations has also increased the possibility of false reports. Although such false accusations are rare, they are not non-existent.
Generally, there are two primary reasons for false sexual assault accusations. You may be falsely accused of sexual assault due to the alleged victim’s false memories. These false accusations are common with young children who an adult has manipulated into believing they were sexually abused. It works because children’s minds are not fully developed and are prone to false memory implantations.
False sexual harassment could also be an intentional act by the complainant against the accused person. Such a false report could arise out of revenge, spite, mental instability, or a need for attention. Other reasons a person could falsely accuse you include gaining leverage in divorce or custody proceedings, monetary gain, or denying a consensual sexual activity.
You must act quickly if you have been falsely accused of sexual assault regardless of the alleged victim’s motives. Once a false report has been filed against you, it could result in criminal charges. The criminal justice system is complex; sometimes, an innocent person may be punished for offenses they did not commit.
Our law firm can help you take the necessary steps to defend yourself against a false allegation. We offer a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation online or at our law office to discuss your case and the next available steps. We also offer extensive legal services if you face accusations or criminal charges of other severe offenses, including domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment
The penalty for sexual harassment is severe. Even if criminal charges are not brought against you, you may face social stigma, a suspension at work, or lose your job. If you are charged and convicted of sexual assault, you could face a jail term, pay a $1,000 fine, or both. If the sex offense is a felony, you could face a maximum $10,000 fine, a prison sentence of five years, or both.
You should not ignore the false allegation because it is false or you think it would go away on its own. You must take active steps to defend yourself and prove your innocence if you want to beat the false accusations.
Here are our top five practical steps to help you fight false allegations:
Keep Your Emotions Under Control and Avoid Retaliation or Any Vengeful Act
Defending yourself is crucial to beating false sexual assault allegations. However, you should resist the urge to put up defensive behavior. Emotional outbursts could be detrimental to your case, especially if an investigation is ongoing. It would help if you stayed calm and carefully devised an action plan. Retaliating or committing a vengeful act could backfire and you could further incriminate yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, silence is an effective defense strategy in false accusation cases. Avoid protesting about the false accusations in public or on social media since they could be used against you as proof. It would also be ideal to avoid discussing it with your friends, family, or coworkers. Additionally, it would help your case if you refused to speak with law enforcement officials because anything you say could be used against you in court.
Review Carefully the Harassment Policy at Your Place of Employment and the Michigan Sex Crime Laws
You can commit a crime without knowing you have violated the law. Therefore, you must ensure you are being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment. You might need to review your employer’s harassment policy if the false allegation was made at your workplace. Alternatively, you could consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that you have not violated any criminal law provision.
Generally, two classifications of behaviors qualify as workplace sexual harassment under Michigan law. Quid pro quo harassment is the first. It means “this for that.” Quid pro quo harassment is when someone in a position of power asks for sexual favors in exchange for a raise, additional perks, or better compensation. It also happens when a person’s ability to get a job or grow professionally is hampered by their refusal to engage in or yield to unwelcome sexual activity or approaches.
Fostering a sexually hostile work environment is the second form of sexual assault in the workplace. It constitutes a form of sexual discrimination. A sexually hostile work environment is created when it is so hostile that any individual in the employee’s position would reasonably assume that the behavior substantially hampered their ability to perform their duties or fostered a hostile, offensive, or intimidating atmosphere.
Although sexual harassment is not a distinct offense under Michigan sex crime laws, you could be prosecuted for stalking. Examples of actions that could be considered stalking include:
● Prying into another person’s personal or sexual life
● Unwanted physical contact or standing too close to someone
● Spreading sexually explicit rumors about someone else
● Sending inappropriately suggestive emails, texts, images, or videos, i.e. sexting
● Capturing an image or video while wearing another person’s clothing (also called upskirting)
Cooperate with the Sexual Harassment Investigators and Stay Away from Your Accuser
Although you have a legal right to remain silent during a criminal investigation, you must cooperate with law enforcement officers. Obstructing an investigation could make you come off as guilty. It would help if you did not lie or try to hide facts from the investigators. However, you must ensure that your interactions with them occur when your sex crimes lawyer is present.
The police and prosecutors often employ deceptive schemes when interrogating an accused person. In some cases, they also nurture a guilty bias against an innocent person. In addition, they could manipulate you to plead guilty even though you are innocent, so you must ensure that you have a lawyer present. An excellent criminal defense attorney can guide you in responding to interrogatory questions. Your lawyer will also ensure your legal rights are not violated during the investigation.
Gather Sufficient Proof that will Show You are Innocent, Including a Solid Alibi, Character Evidence, and Compelling Witness Accounts
If you are wrongfully accused of sexual assault, you must prepare solid sexual assault defense strategies immediately. You should gather all the evidence supporting your innocence. Write everything you remember about the incident in as much detail as possible. You must also collect physical evidence from the alleged crime scene, video and audio recordings, text messages, emails, and pictures where available.
Compelling eyewitness testimony could also help prove your innocence in a sex crime case. A solid alibi you can defend can also help refute the false accusations brought against you. In addition, you should consider using character evidence in building a solid defense strategy. Suppose you have a new work history and have not been convicted of any heinous crime, such as domestic violence, rape, child abuse, or stalking. In that case, it could help to convince the investigators or court of your innocence.
Hire a Michigan Sex Crimes Defense Attorney to Protect Your Legal Rights and Prove Your Innocence
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is another vital step to proving your innocence in a sex crime case. You need a lawyer even if legal action has not been brought against you. It is more beneficial to consult an attorney before you are charged to court, as a skilled lawyer could get the false allegations dropped.
Finding a suitable attorney can be daunting, but some lawyers offer a free initial consultation which you can use to consider whether they are the right attorney for you. It would help if you considered hiring an experienced attorney who has successfully handled multiple false accusation cases. It would increase your chances of beating the allegations made against you. Learn more on what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here. Contact us or visit our law office to schedule a free consultation today.
Contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker for an Aggressive Criminal Defense Against False Sexual Harassment Charges
Female criminal defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC is an experienced criminal defense lawyer. She has defended several clients across Michigan against false allegations and sex crime charges. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker can fight for you and help decide the best course of action in your criminal case.
Once you create an attorney-client relationship with our law firm, we will work endlessly to support you in proving your innocence. We will also protect your rights during the investigation process and work with you to develop an aggressive sexual assault defense strategy. Contact our law firm for a free consultation today.