5 Stories of People Falsely Accused of Sex Crimes
About 2% to 10% of sexual assault allegations have turned out to be false in the last two decades. However, this estimation does not include reports of attempted rape. People may be wrongfully accused or convicted of sex crimes due to insufficient evidence, official misconduct, police brutality, and poor defense, among other reasons.
Being wrongfully accused of a sex crime has been shown to have severe and life–altering consequences. Depending on the seriousness of the offense and the victim’s age, those who have been wrongfully convicted of sexual misconduct often receive harsh punishment, such as life imprisonment, paying hefty fines, and being subjected to lifetime electronic monitoring. In addition, they may be forced to register on the Sex Offender Registry, which would make life more challenging. Those charged with other crimes, like murder and armed robbery, may obtain even harsher punishment, such as the death sentence or solitary confinement.
Even after their names have been cleared, some people lose their jobs and struggle to find gainful employment. The wrongful conviction also tarnishes their reputations in the public eye. Some defendants are forced to drop out of school, and their friends, co-workers, and family members treat them with contempt and distrust.
You may feel crushed or defeated if you have been wrongfully accused of a sex crime; but if you respond quickly, you can defend yourself against the accusations and restore your reputation (learn more about what to do if accused of sexual assault here). You can establish your innocence and get your life back together by working with an excellent sex crimes defense lawyer.
Nicole Blank Becker is a top criminal defense attorney focused on sex crimes.
As a former prosecutor, she possesses a unique advantage over other attorneys, and she can assist you in building a solid defense and avoiding a wrongful conviction.
Stories of People Falsely Accused
The criminal justice system is complex and imperfect, and wrongful convictions occur from time to time. Although the legal system is designed to promote justice, there are situations where people are unfairly accused and unable to prove their innocence. It is a sad reality because no innocent person should be wrongfully convicted for an offense they did not commit.
However, many criminal defense lawyers work tirelessly to ensure innocent people avoid wrongful incarceration and punishment. With the guidance and expertise of a criminal sexual conduct attorney, people unfairly accused of sex crimes have better chances of beating the criminal charges brought against them.
Also, with the creation of charitable organizations, like the Innocence Project, that focus on preventing wrongful convictions, innocent individuals can defeat the false charges against them. The Innocence Project was established in 1992 to free innocent people and create a compassionate, equitable, and fair justice system for everyone. They take on lawsuits, advocate for policies and criminal law that promote justice, and support those who have faced a wrongful conviction.
There are several accounts of innocent persons unfairly accused of sex crimes while going about their daily lives, visiting a friend’s house, taking a stroll, sleeping at a post office, or attending a party. We have compiled five stories of people who were wrongfully accused of sex crimes. While many endured lengthy prison sentences and soiled reputations, they eventually established their innocence.
The Central Park 5 Tragedy
If you have watched When They See Us, a four-part drama miniseries about the wrongful conviction of five teenage boys, then you must be familiar with the Central Park 5 tragedy. The boys were arrested and wrongfully convicted of assaulting and raping a white woman who had been jogging in New York’s City Central Park on April 19, 1989.
The Central Park 5 were Korey Wise, 16, Yusef Salaam, 15, Antron McCray, 15, Raymond Santana, 14, and Kevin Richardson, 14. The general public immediately assumed the boys were guilty without offering them a chance to establish their innocence. Also, the media repeatedly described them as a gang out wilding that night and assaulting people in and around the park. Consequently, people spoke against them and clamoured for enforcing the death penalty against the boys.
The boys were interrogated by a detective, without a lawyer present, for several hours, and the police officers obtained inconsistent and false confessions and excluded DNA evidence. In addition to police misconduct, the prosecution excluded DNA evidence. Generally, the evidence against the boys was insufficient to establish their guilt. However, they were found guilty of several crimes, including robbery, assault, attempted murder, and statutory rape. Although the boys did not receive the death punishment, they were sentenced to prison for durations ranging from 6 to 13 years.
In 2002, a prison inmate, Matias Reyes, who had been convicted of another offense, confessed to the crime. With DNA evidence backing up his confession that he had been the actual perpetrator, the Central Park 5 were fully exonerated. However, they had almost completed their sentences in the same prison. With that said, Reyes was not prosecuted for the crimes because of the statute of limitations.
Today, the boys, who are now grown men, are free, and Yusef Salaam belongs to the Innocence Project and continues to fight wrongful convictions around the U.S.
The Story of Habib Wahir Abdal
In 1982, Habib Wahir Abdal, also known as Vincent Jenkins, was arrested for rape. Although the victim had been blindfolded when the crime occurred, she described the alleged perpetrator. The victim wrongly identified him as the person who had committed the crime. In addition, based on inconclusive forensic evidence, Habib was found guilty.
However, his lawyer continued to fight for him. She also reached out to the Innocence Project for assistance. The Innocence Project defense team obtained physical evidence and submitted it for DNA testing. Although the DNA test results did not identify him as the perpetrator, it was deemed mere exculpatory evidence (see: direct vs. circumstantial evidence). However, he was fully exonerated and released after 16 years in prison.
The Story of Kenneth Adams and 3 others
After a young couple was abducted and found dead shortly after, Kenneth Adams and three other men were arrested for raping the woman and killing both parties in 1978. An inaccurate tip from someone who lived close to the crime scene had led to their arrest. Adams’ girlfriend, Paula Gray, who was illiterate, was also brought in for questioning. After being detained at the police station for days without legal counsel, she confessed that she had watched the men commit the offenses. A jailhouse informant also made a false confession identifying Kenneth and the other men as the perpetrators.
A few weeks later, however, she recanted the alleged confession claiming that she had been drugged by the police officers and forced to lie. With that said, Adams was convicted of both crimes and sentenced to 75 years in prison based on the false confessions. In 1994, the jailhouse informant also recanted his testimony, claiming that he had lied.
With the help of a group of journalism students and the Innocence Project litigation team, the men obtained new evidence for forensic testing, which shed light on the case. Subsequently, Adams and the other men were exonerated, and the real perpetrators were found.
The Tale of Robert DuBoise
In October, 1983, Robert DuBoise was arrested for the rape and murder of a woman in Florida based on unreliable bite mark evidence. There was no other evidence linking him to the crime, except for the false testimony of a jailhouse informant. However, he was convicted of attempted sexual battery and capital murder. Although the jury pronounced a guilty verdict and recommended life imprisonment, the judge sentenced DuBoise to death.
He was on death row for three years until the Supreme Court in Florida vacated his sentence. Thus, he was resentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted sexual battery and life imprisonment for capital murder, with sentences running consecutively (see: concurrent vs. consecutive sentencing). The Innocence Project defense team took up his case in 2018, and with the introduction of new evidence excluding DuBoise as a perpetrator, he was eventually exonerated and released in 2020.
The Story of Jimmy Ray Bromgard
In 1987, an Innocence Project client, Jimmy Ray Bromgard, was arrested for the tape of an 8-year-old girl. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on the victim’s identification, misleading expert testimony, and a checkbook found on the street where Bromgard lived.
Bromgard’s defense attorney put up a weak defense, refusing to conduct investigations or obtain expert testimony to debunk the false claims. Bromgard was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for each count, with the sentence served concurrently. He was eventually exonerated by DNA evidence after the Innocence Project took up his case.
Contact Blank Law, PC
A wrongful conviction of a sex crime can adversely affect your life for a long time. Therefore, you should respond promptly and seriously to false allegations. Blank Law PC is a top sex offender lawyers firm in Michigan dedicated to promoting an equitable criminal justice system for defendants and disproving unfounded accusations. We have proven to be a trustworthy law firm and are committed to protecting our clients’ confidentiality based on the attorney-client relationship. Our excellent legal representation can assist you in establishing your innocence and avoiding unfair punishment.
Contact us at (248) 515–6583 to schedule your free consultation.