Fighting False Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

Lawrence J. Zimmerman

False Accusations and Their Devastating Impact

In today’s online dating world, protecting yourself from false accusations of sexual misconduct is an absolute necessity. Over the past two years, our firm has represented a dozen people who have been falsely accused of forcing someone to participate in a sexual act. From college kids to CEO’s of companies the false allegations run the gamut.

A Typical False Accusation Story

It always starts the same way for me. I get a phone call to my office, and it is a distraught man who says the police have reached out to them about a liaison they had a few days ago. They would just like the person to come down to the police station for an interview. This potential client always says the same thing to me, “I was planning on going there tomorrow, and I don’t want to cancel on the officer, or I will be arrested.” My response is usually the same each time, “Whoa! Slow down. You do not have to go to the station for questioning. If they have enough for an arrest it will happen regardless. Come into my office and let’s discuss this so we can make an intelligent decision.”

Clearly, a phone call from the police such as this is extremely frightening and an arrest for any sex crime is devastating. When a client comes into my office, we immediately lay out a strategy to fight these allegations and show the police that the accuser is lying. First off, we contact the police department to explain we represent the client and ask for some time to get our head wrapped around the situation. Most detectives will have no objection, and let’s be honest, they have no choice. If they explain an arrest is imminent, then it does not make much of a difference what we do stop an arrest. Of course, there are tons of measures we can take to stop a prosecution.

Early Action Can Save You

Second, we go into planning mode by having the client immediately take a polygraph test. While I do not have a strong belief in their validity, most police departments and federal agencies believe they are valid. Thus, we always use the polygrapher with the best reputation. Third, we rope in one of our private investigators to assist and run down any and all information about the accuser. We had a client tell us one time he was watching a Netflix movie with a woman, which she disputed. We grabbed his account history and it showed the time that the movie was playing and the IP address showed her apartment. In that same situation, the woman alleged our client bought her many drinks at dinner. We interviewed the people at the restaurant and got original copies of his receipt, which showed one beer was bought. We advise our clients to immediately preserve any and all social media posts and text messages relating to the accuser.

If the accuser is friends with our client on Instagram or Facebook and they have removed them, we ask our client if they have mutual friends with the accuser on social media. If there are mutual friends, we get them to print off all their social media posts. All of these items are of utmost importance because they provide a window into the thinking of the accuser. A client was accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder, but the next night afterward she is proudly posting on Facebook photos of her with other men and drinking and having fun. In another case recently, we discovered an accuser was posting crazy things leading up to the allegation, which showed us that she had been acting unstable for a period of months. All of these investigative finds can turn a case in our direction. When we obtain these items, we then turn them over to the police because it will contradict the statement that the accuser made to them. Many times if the police do not have any other evidence besides a statement from the accuser they will close the case without an arrest if we can provide strong contradictory evidence.

Offense is the Best Defense

When you contact a lawyer, you want one who plays offense not defense. It astounds me when I hear people say they contacted a lawyer who told them just wait it out to see if you are arrested. Advice like this is not only outrageous it is incompetent and malpractice. Nobody, when contacted by law enforcement, should just wait it out. Call us today to help you plot out your offense in fighting against baseless accusations.

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