Clearing The Doubt In Sex Crimes

By Jason K Jensen, Private Investigator, 1.21.2012

Sex crimes are special investigations with additional components to take into consideration. In fact most departments have a specialized unit for sex crimes. The biggest question for the police investigator (as well as in anyone conducting a follow-up sex crimes investigation) is whether the allegations were ever supported by corroborating evidence. Rape allegations are interesting because often time doubt exists when taking statements concerning an alleged rape. The existence of doubt is well-placed. The fact of the matter is that a small percentage of rape allegations are suspected as being false. However, officers are trained or should be trained to cautiously accept the possibility the allegations are false until demonstrated to be true through corroborating evidence. Crowley (1999) estimates this percentage of rape allegations are approximately eight percent of all reported rapes; other estimates are closer to two percent (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). In any crime, investigators must be aware of accounts provided by victims that just do not seem to make sense and that appear suspicious (Brandl, 2008). Aiken et al. (1995) identify numerous "red flags" of false rape allegations. The more of these circumstances that are present, the more likely the allegation is false. These include:

Trial attorneys who are experienced in rape trials, known that many police investigators fail to consider many of these factors in the course of their investigation. Many take the word of the alleged victim alone. As noted by Aiken et al, (1995), however, "[i]t must be remembered that even those who are emotionally prone to make a false allegation can be raped. Basic principles of police professionalism require that officers who investigate rapes remain objective and compassionate." (p. 238). Nonetheless, if enough factors exist conflicting with the claims, filing of any charges should be done with extreme caution because false charges carry grave consequences on an innocent man. It’s one thing to file charges to protect the victim, it’s quite another to create a victim of a poor investigation.

Read more about the benefits of hiring a criminal defense private investigator.


References:

  1. U.S. Department of Justice. (2001). First response to victims of crime. Washington, DC: Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime (which is available on-line at www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/reports/firstrep2001/NCJ189631.pdf).
  2. Crowley, Sharon R. (1999). Sexual assault: the medical legal examination. Stamford, CT: Appleton and Lange.
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Jason Jensen is an associate of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Heartland Chapter, and he anticipates full membership with the National Association. The Heartland Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is dedicated to the detection and deterrence of fraud. It is a non-profit professional organization comprised of fraud investigators, internal and external auditors, law enforcement, accountants and finance professionals that is dedicated to the education and training of anti-fraud measures. The Heartland Chapter has approximately 145 members from various companies, organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other public or private firms. As an experienced fraud investigator, being certified is honor demonstrating a commitment to the discipline and respect for the profession.

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