“Making it Up” Strategy: This is Often the Truth
The first strategy discussed by the former prosecutor is the “make it up” tactic. He says criminal defense attorneys argue that child victims are prone to “make up false reports of sexual abuse.” He cites research stating that children aren't any more likely to lie under oath than adults. In fact, these studies supposedly found that false allegations are made only between 1 and 10 percent of the time in sexual assault cases involving children. This is a small percentage indeed. Yet, it doesn't match up with our own experience with child sex assault cases in Arapahoe, Jefferson, and El Paso County. We recently won a case at trial where the little girl who was the “victim” in the case made up intricate lies right on the witness stand. And, this isn't the only situation where this has been true – we are faced weekly with examples of children making up stories of abuse for any number of reasons. The prosecutor says false allegations “are much more rare than offenders want us to believe.” We have found this to be simply not true. The prosecutor also mentions another fallacy – that it is highly unlikely for children to “make up details about a heinous act,” because most of them have “no knowledge about” it at their age. Again, this is illogical. Most children today are exposed to vast amounts of sexual behavior, whether by watching TV or movies, listening to the radio, talking with peers, or listening to their parents talk. Children today are not quite as innocent as many people think.[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”90%”]Prosecutors often ignore the lack of evidence in criminal cases.[/pullquote]
“Mixing it Up” Strategy: The Defendant isn't Always the Perpetrator
The next tactic the former prosecutor mentions is the “mixing it up” strategy. He says that criminal defense attorneys often agree that the evidence points to the child being sexually abused, but argue that the child accuses the wrong person. The prosecutor argues: “Is it likely that a child is capable of providing the details of horrific abuse, but incapable of accurately identifying the known individual who perpetrated the abuse?” We have first-hand knowledge in many cases where a child was abused, but falsely accused another person. Often, children are molested by a person close to them – a grandfather, uncle, or stepmother. Because of their close connection with the abuser, they are afraid to make accusations. When the truth comes out, they often point their fingers at someone else, because they're afraid to lose or anger a loved one. The former prosecutor is blind to the truth when he says this strategy “makes no sense and cares nothing about the child.” What could be more caring than finding the truth and exposing the real abuser?
“Minimizing and Shifting” Strategy: We Examine the Evidence, Wherever it Leads
The former prosecutor says the last tactic is the “minimizing and shifting” strategy. He says criminal defense attorneys work hard to “shift the attention away from the child and towards everyone else related to the case.” He says the approach involves a “devious” two-step process.
Step One: According to the prosecutor, the first step of this strategy is to claim that a child's testimony is not evidence. He says the accusation of a young child is enough for a conviction. This is a scary perspective, to say the least. When you convict someone based solely on the accusations of a small child, with no evidence (in many of our cases, the actual evidence points towards the defendant's innocence), justice is not served. Innocent people go to prison when an accusation is all that is needed to convict someone “beyond reasonable doubt.”
Step Two: The second step in this so-called strategy, is to shift the focus to “law enforcement, parents, and anyone else connected with the case.” We call this looking for evidence. The prosecutor says this is a ploy to emphasize “issues that have little to no bearing on the reliability of the victim's in-court testimony.” This is blind. Who else would you look to than a child's parents when trying to determine whether or not a child is truthful? The prosecutor is upset by the defense pointing out that protocol wasn't followed during the case. He says “pointing out that an investigator did not follow proper protocol during…an investigation may establish that he/she needs further training, but it has nothing to do with the reliability of the child victim's testimony.” There is a reason protocol is put into place. Many of the protocols investigators are required to follow are in effect to not lead child victim's into answers, or make assumptions. When these protocols aren't followed, mistakes are made. And, when you are dealing with a person's life, it is unjust to ignore them.
Our Strategy: Demand Evidence in Child Sex Assault Cases
Here at the O'Malley Law Office, we know the truth about child sex assault cases: Many of them are the result of false accusations. And, if the accusations hold some truth, we understand that children are often scared to accuse the actual abuser, and therefore make accusations against someone else they know. We have seen many cases where troubled children lie and manipulate. We don't allow this to happen. We shed light on the case and work hard to gather evidence to prove our story. The former prosecutor wants to blindly believe children, without pausing to consider whether or not they could be lying. This kind of blindness doesn't help true victims of sexual abuse.Request a Free Consultation