False Rape Accusations

What Protects a Guy Against a False Rape Accusation?

No reasonable person denies sexual assault happens in the military, just as it does in the civilian world, and is deadly serious. Moreover, the stigma around being raped has slowly faded, allowing victims to better come forward and be taken more seriously. That said, this has lead, at least somewhat, to a growing new problem. False rape accusations happen. Whether they are malicious or due to a genuine misunderstanding of the law, some people accuse people of crimes they did not commit. These accusations can be hard to combat, which is why today we’ve put together a guide to help protect anyone who is worried they may face such accusations.

Know Your Consent Law

The first and most obvious thing to protect you from serious accusations is to know how consent operates. We’ll start with things at their most basic and go from there. Gone are the days of “boys will be boys” and for good reason. That attitude leads to allowances that should never be made and good people were harmed. As a rule, “No means no” should be the mantra you memorize. Any person you intend to have sex with must consent to your advances. They may also withdraw that consent at any time, meaning you must stop what you are doing. If ever in doubt, remember FRIES:
  • Consent must be Freely given, without pressure, manipulation, or through the influence of substances
  • Consent is Reversible, regardless of what activities the person is engaging in or has engaged in in the past
  • Consent must be Informed, meaning you may not say you will do one thing and do another (this is most often applied to condom use)
  • Consent should be Enthusiastic, with those involved only doing what they want to do rather than what you expect them to
  • Consent is Specific, with permission to do one thing (such as kissing) not implying permission to do another (such as having sex)
Note that your opinion of how consent works does not change how it operates in our legal system. If you violate consent law and someone chooses to prosecute you, you are in trouble. Respecting people’s autonomy and staying on the right side of the law is the first step in protecting yourself against accusations.

When Consent isn’t Consent

Every service member also needs to remember that even consent isn’t always consent. Age is a critical factor and important to remember. Some service members may be as young as 18 but they are not bound by just local law anymore. In the military, sex with anyone under 16 is a prosecutable offense. You could very well be charged with statutory rape for relations with a teenager. It does not matter if they were enthusiastic and gave their consent. The military says under 16 is too young. Where things get less obvious is with drug use. Alcohol is often involved in both sexual assault and false sexual assault accusations. Anyone should be very careful about having sex if either party is under the influence of alcohol. It’s a myth that being intoxicated automatically prevents you from consenting. However, it’s also a (quite dangerous) myth that boozing up women who don’t want to have sex with you so you can take advantage is anything but assault. Never use drugs, including alcohol, to convince someone to consent who you think would not give it. However, there is a gap between total sobriety and too drunk to consent. As a rule, the ability to consent comes down to cognitive ability. A jury must believe an accuser was “incapable of consent” due to a given drug’s influence.

Law and Reality

Any military trial lawyer will know of multiple cases where a service member (most often men) had a weak sexual assault case brought against them. Evidence was weak, circumstantial, or downright fabricated. Despite this, the outcome may have been a conviction and serious sentence. In response to past (real) injustices, court-martials now seem biased against those accused of sexual assault. Even if you are innocent, you will need the help of an experienced military trial attorney. These are not cases to leave to chance. To best avoid accusations, you must stay vigilant. Be careful drinking and when around other service members drinking. We would advise avoiding sexual contact with drunk service members (or anyone else), even if they still seem able to give legal consent. We also recommend you not drink to the point where recalling what happened gets difficult. This can weaken your defense against accusations. Even if you did nothing wrong while impaired, it is easier for someone to say you acted inappropriately. Most sexual and romantic partners aren’t “out to get you.” Some might be and it is easy for them to level an accusation against you in a military court. Sexual assault court-martial lawyers have a far easier job on prosecution than the defense so your best option is to avoid risking a trial at all. Whether you want a fling or a long-term relationship, engage in sexual activities when both you and your partner are sober. Verbally ask if what you’re doing is okay and ask again if your activities escalate in any way. Beyond being healthy relationship advice, this also helps protect you from accusations.

Finding Representation

You don’t want a novice lawyer in the JAG Corps standing between you and a sexual assault conviction. You are guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the military. We can hope this changes in the future to protect victims, no matter what side of the court they are on, but this is the reality of today. Hire a civilian-military lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases. We know it may seem odd to hire a civilian lawyer for military trials at first. After all, what are things like JAG for? However, we at Bilecki Law Group specialize in court-martial defense cases. On top of that, our team has plenty of military service, and successful cases, under our belt. Timothy J. Bilecki even has a JAG background, if that is specifically what you’re looking for in your legal representation.
Picture of Gavel in a case ofFalse Rape Accusations in The Military

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False Rape Accusation Are Serious

Rape and sexual assault cases in the military get fast-tracked from accusation to trial oftentimes so that the command and relevant high-ranking officers can score political points in the military’s war on sexual assault. Rape is a serious crime and actual rapists should be prosecuted. However, the military’s current trend of prosecuting nearly every allegation of rape regardless of merit makes false accusations deadly serious.

If you face false rape accusations, or are otherwise accused of sexual assault, contact us. The initial case evaluation is free and confidential. We can discuss your case and your options, with the final goal being to get you the best result possible. 

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