Few things in this world are as scary as being accused of a sex offense. Merely being accused is enough to end your career, and lose your family and friends. No other accusation quite carries the stigma that the accusation of a sex offense does. Sex offenses are taken very seriously by law enforcement, and they are willing to use some very underhanded strategies in the name of locking up anyone they suspect is guilty of a sex offense.
The fact of the matter is, many people who are accused of sex offenses are not guilty at all. These types of accusations come up most often in the context of a messy divorce. A bitter spouse knows the power of this accusation, and will throw it around in hopes of getting a better settlement in her (or sometimes his) divorce case. If you have even been threatened with an accusation, make sure you watch out for the following things that are almost guaranteed to happen.
One of the most effective tools that law enforcement likes to use in sex offense cases is the ‘confrontation call’. A confrontation call is a call that a complaining witness makes to the suspect. It is often in the context of confronting the suspect about the allegations. The problems with these calls is that the suspect believes the call is private, and he is being presented with some very scary accusations. The suspect knows that if this complaining witness goes to law enforcement, it could end his life, even if he is not ultimately convicted. Consequently the suspect will make concessions, and at a minimum apologize in hopes of changing the complaining witness’s mind. What the suspect doesn’t know is that the witness already went to law enforcement, and law enforcement is recording the conversation, and coaching the witness on what to say. Even a vague apology during one of these conversations will cause you a lot of problems in your case. It could be interpreted as a confession, even if you didn’t really confess to anything.
After the confrontation call, and right before law enforcement concludes its investigation, they will make their own call to the suspect. They will ask the suspect questions on the phone, or have him come into the police station to discuss the case. They will pose it to the suspect that they want to get his side of the story, and that if the suspect doesn’t speak with them, that they will only have one side of the story. They will say that if the suspect doesn’t speak to them they will have no choice but to turn the file over to the prosecutor with only one side to the story.
After the suspect agrees to sit down with the police, then comes the interrogation. They will not be friendly to the suspect like they were to the complaining witness. The complaining witness was treated with velvet gloves, and any inconsistencies in her statement were glossed over, or even worse the police attempted to help the witness rectify the inconsistency. When the police interrogate the suspect it will be completely opposite. The police will not only gloss over inconsistencies, they will try to twist the suspect’s words, and even where there was not an inconsistency, they will make it sound like it was. And even if the suspect is smart, and avoids making any statement’s that can be used against him, they will find a way to use his words against him in other ways. There is simply no benefit to anyone speaking to the police when accused of a sex offense. If they had a weak case, then you will avoid making it a stronger case by speaking to them. If it was a strong case, then speaking to them wouldn’t have helped you avoid being charged.
One of the final tools the police will use is an offer to perform a polygraph, also known as a lie detector test. The polygraph is not intended to benefit the suspect. It is simply an opportunity for the police to brow beat the suspect, and to tear him down psychologically when he fails the polygraph. The fact of the matter is, polygraphs are based on junk science. Even the American Psychological Association says so. That is why courts will not even allow the polygraph results to be presented in court. However, the courts will allow the statements made by the suspect during the polygraph to be used against the defendant in trial. The only time a polygraph can be useful, is when your attorney negotiates a deal with the State to agree to take the polygraph in exchange for a dismissal or other concession in the event you pass the polygraph. But make no mistake, this is only an agreement that can be reached with the prosecutor, not with the police. Do not let them trick you into taking the polygraph by promising some better result for you. They cannot promise you that.
If you are accused of a sex offense, you need to immediately call an attorney. That attorney is going to advise you to remain silent. When the witness, or anyone else calls you to talk to you about the case, get off the call. Do not discuss anything with them. If the police call you, tell them that you are exercising your right to remain silent, and will not speak with them. And do not, under any circumstanes, agree to take a polygraph, unless your attorney tells you to.
Craig Atkinson is the lead attorney at Atkinson Law Office,
Boise DUI and Criminal Attorneys. It is located at 1087 W River St #290, Boise, ID 83702. You can call him anytime at 208.571.0627.
Ask Craig to review your case.