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. Its one thing to file charges to protect the victim, its quite another to create a victim of a poor investigation.
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