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Friday, September 18, 2009

Another High Profile False Rape Allegation - What About Those That Never Make the News?...

Remember back when those Duke University lacrosse players were falsely accused of raping a girl at a house party? Their exoneration came only after they were convicted and despised in the court of public opinion...and relentlessly pursued by an overzealous district attorney. Here now it the latest high profile false rape allegation, that again played out in the national news...

Apparently, an 18-year-old Hofstra University student claimed she was raped by several young men, including one fellow Hofstra University student. The young men were tracked down, arrested and thrown in jail. Their names were splashed across the national media and they were portrayed as predatory rapists. Meanwhile, their accuser was shielded by the anonymity the press provides to those who claim to be victims.

Charges against these young men have now apparently been dropped as the alleged rape victim has recanted and admitted she was not raped by them, when she was confronted with the fact that part of the interaction was videotaped. She lied because she was worried about the reaction if her boyfriend found out. The updated CNN and FoxNews stories are at:,2933,552041,00.html?test=latestnews,2933,552300,00.html

Because I can't bring myself to watch the Nancy Grace show, I don't know what, if anything, she said about this case. If the case did appear on her show, I'm sure she took the opportunity to publically convict these young men and sneer at any possibility that such an allegation could be false. Her outlook on cases like this is shared by far too many.

As you may know, I (attorney Richard V. Stevens, Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) have written multiple blog posts on rape and sexual assault allegations in the military justice system. They are compiled at this link:

I post today about this Hofstra case because it makes some of the points that I have continued to raise regarding this issue...

1. Rape and sexual assault allegations are not automatically true;

2. Prosecutors (civilian and JAG), law enforcement (including CID, OSI, NCIS, CGIS), military commanders, juries, the press and the public have to stop believing in the misconception that "a woman would not make something like this up"; and,

3. Prosecutors (civilian and JAG), law enforcement (including CID, OSI, NCIS, CGIS), commanders, juries, the press and the public have to stop treating these cases as guilty unless proven innocent.

This blog post should not be interpreted to suggest that rape and sexual assault allegations in the military or civilian systems should be automatically disbelieved or viewed with suspicion either. To the contrary, I'm simply suggesting that these allegations should be investigated objectively and with an open mind as to all possible scenarios, instead of simply assuming guilt and looking for evidence and/or witnesses that will support this theory.

The Duke lacrosse case and this case are just two recent high profile examples of false rape and sexual assault claims. Just think of how many such allegations do not receive national coverage or how many false claims are never uncovered as men go to jail convicted on that knee jerk reaction - "a woman would not make something like this up".

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. Military defense law offices are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Military defense law practices are worldwide.

Friday, September 11, 2009


...and should not forget that the brave men and women of our American military are fighting in the Middle East to protect us from this ever happening again.