Many sex crimes, generally speaking, are “he said/she said.”
Sometimes the evidence is right there in front of you. In other cases
there’s very little evidence. But, in all cases (like
sex assault), it’s important that everyone gets it right, from the cops to the
prosecutors to the defense attorneys.
In one woman’s case, the cops got it wrong. Though there was apparently
evidence to the contrary, as Martha Neil writes for the ABA Journal, the
woman was ultimately convicted of filing a false rape report. False allegations
are always a concern in rape cases, given the “he said/she said”
nature. But in her case, the cops ignored DNA evidence and forced her
to recant her claim.
It’s not really made explicit, in Neil’s article, exactly why
the cops made her recant her claim. There’s something there about
“statements from individuals with no knowledge of the case,”
which is certainly troubling.
Either way, the woman wasn’t believed, and she was convicted.
Now, in the years following the rape in 2008, we find that there really
was a man responsible. He was picked up on another rape in a different
state. But he still had the photos he’d taken of her after the rape,
which meant that the woman was vindicated and her record erased.
This goes to show that you should never – whether you’re a
cop, a prosecutor, or a defense lawyer – ignore evidence when it
comes to sex crimes. The wrong person could end up getting convicted.