A rape or sex crime victim may feel ashamed, scared, and even perhaps upset with their own self. The psychological impact is devastating. Furthermore, the wrongdoer may be a family member, loved one, a highly respected member of the community, employer, or a person in the position of power. Therefore, it is understandable that it may take time for a sex crime victim time to come forward and reveal the abuse.
For instance, Jerry Sandusky has been accused of more than 50 counts involving sexual acts with ten boys going back to 1994.
Recently, former Penn State star quarterback, Mike McQueary, testified against Sandusky about events that allegedly occurred in 2002. McQueary purported that he walked into the locker room and heard someone in the shower. Then McQueary heard “rhythmic, slapping sounds, like that of skin on skin.” McQueary then stated that he looked in the mirror and saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower.
There is no doubt that sex crimes are terrible and sick. Period. Those who are guilty of sex crimes, especially against children, should be punished to the maximum extent of the law.
While it is extremely important that sexual predators are brought to justice for past wrongs–there can be another side to the coin.
Individuals sometimes bring false accusations against others, whether it is to get attention, revenge, money, or perhaps publicity. These false accusations may concern a purported sex crime that occurred years or even decades in the past. The problem is that over time exculpatory evidence is oftentimes lost, discarded, or destroyed. Additionally, memories fade and witnesses forget facts that can exonerate the accused. The human brain tends to dispose of information over time–the hard drive only has so much space. Some people dispose of bad memories while retaining good ones. Other individuals tend to retain mostly bad memories. Therefore, when a truly innocent person is accused of a sex crime–he or she can be placed in a tough and unfair position.
Consider what Congressmen Dale Kilsdee is dealing with. Kildee has been accused of sexually abusing his second cousin about 50 years ago. How can a person adequately defend their self over something that happened 50 years ago?
Statutes of limitations exist because of these issues. The idea is that it is unfair for one to be prosecuted when evidence has been lost or destroyed and when the memories have faded or witnesses are unavailable.
The Washington Statute of Limitations concerning criminal actions bars criminal prosecution for sex crimes in many situations. For example, in general, prosecution for sex crimes against those who are Fourteen or younger cannot be brought after the alleged victim’s 28th birthday.
Being faced with false accusations of a past crime or sex crime can have a debilitating impact on one’s life. False accusations can cause embarrassment, worry, fear, and ruin one’s personal and professional relationships, reputation, and family life. It is important to contact an attorney when false accusations arise. The attorney will be able to provide one who is faced with false accusations with certainty as to whether the statute of limitations has lapsed. The mere knowledge that criminal prosecution is barred by law can provide one with relief, peace, and freedom from fear and worry.
The law firm of Platt & Buescher has been providing the citizens of Washington with legal representation since 1990. Contact Platt & Buescher at (360) 678-6777 to discuss your legal matter.