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How big of a problem are false rape allegations?

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  • How big of a problem are false rape allegations?

    I'm doing some research into the subject of false rape allegations. I was wondering if you could tell me, how prevalent is this crime? What is the typical psychological profile of a person who makes a false rape claim?

    How much time do you spend chasing after fictitious perpetrators or wrongfully named suspects? And do you think that this crime deserves a greater punishment than that which is typically given?

    Seems people who make false rape claims rarely get held accountable in any real meaningful way. I wonder if they are deterred at all....in cases I've read in the news, many people who do this have done this more than once. Some do it habitually...and in so doing, waste valuable police time and resources, as well as potentially ruining an innocent man's reputation.

    Do you think there should be stiffer penalties for this crime?

    And about what percentage of rape claims would you figure to be real, versus how many turn out to be false?

    And again, how big is the problem, and do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on this subject?

    I know I'm asking a lot of questions, but any insight into this problem at all would be greatly appreciated. I belong to a group who is trying very hard to raise awareness of this problem. Any information, personal experiences, would be very helpful.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by TERA; 07-18-2008, 10:07 PM.

  • #2
    Tera:

    Rape is one of the most serious crimes that police investigate. And from my experience, every single allegation of rape is taken seriously. As you might imagine, this requires considerable resources. Nobody complains about that, however, because it is such a serious crime.

    While false accusations do occur occasionally, they do not occur so frequently as to provoke a less than full and rigorous investiagtion. Nobody that I know would assume an accusation is false, and therefore, fail to properly investigate.

    The justice system is fully capable of dealing with those who make false accusations. I wouldn't care to speculate as to what percentage are false.
    Last edited by SlowDownThere; 07-18-2008, 10:17 PM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by TERA View Post
      I was wondering if you could tell me, how prevalent is this crime?
      Can't speak for the US obviously, but over here, it does happen with distressing frequency.

      What is the typical psychological profile of a person who makes a false rape claim?
      I would venture that there is no such thing. People make false allegations for a wide variety of reasons. Revenge is an obvious one. Trying to cover up often quite trivial naughtiness on their own part is another. I recollect one case in which a woman falsely alleged a stranger rape to disguise the fact that she had fallen off the wagon and gone on a bender. Another in which a female alleged a stranger rape to conceal the fact that she had consensual sex with a male when she was supposed to be in a same sex relationship. Teenagers explaining why they're late home is another common one - the lie then just snowballs. Any number of reasons really. And of course mental illness.

      How much time do you spend chasing after fictitious perpetrators or wrongfully named suspects?
      As long as it takes. It is one of the most serious crimes imaginable and it gets treated as such as soon as the allegation is made. At least round my way, no allegation of rape gets batted off as "Nah, he/she is making it up" until a thorough investigation has occurred.

      Seems people who make false rape claims rarely get held accountable in any real meaningful way.
      True - but therein lies the rub. We don't want people who approach us with genuine allegations to feel that they not only risk being ignored but actually prosecuted. It's pretty rare for us actually to take such people to court. It's not great but I understand and agree with the reasoning. Which must be precious little comfort to some falsely accused fella I totally agree.
      I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

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      • #4
        I worked in Assaults/Sex Crimes for four years. The number of false sexual assault reports was appalling. There was no typical profile. Some lied because they got caught cheating or not being home when they were supposed to be; some were stupid drunk (not to a high level of impairment) college students trying to convince themselves and their friends they weren't "that kind" of girl; some were mentally ill. The mentally ill ones were the ones that were repeat offenders. And some were just vindictive you-know-whats.

        We only prosecuted the ones who named specific suspects. Most used the whole "I didn't get a good look at him..he was white/black and between 5'6" and 6' tall" generic description. Some of the guys were pretty lucky. I remember one lady who was mad because some guy she met in a chat room kept banging her but not buying her the stuff she wanted, so she said he raped her. Her story was pretty convincing, she had only met him once and he had raped her, blah blah blah. When we contacted him he showed up with a DVD of every encounter they had. Turns out his entire house was wired with video/audio surveillance because he was a freak who liked to watch, but in this case his freakiness saved him and blew her story out of the water. She admitted to it and was arrested.

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        • #5
          I can think of three falsely reported rapes in the past thirty days. Thats just the ones I am aware of on my shift. You investigate every one as thoroughly as possible. The fake ones take up almost as much valuble time as the real ones. It is very hard to charge false reporting here. The DA's office doesn't like to prosecute them here.

          Many times it's a cheating spouse who was caught and trying to claim it was an involuntary act. mental illness and a newer trend i'm starting to see is blackmail.

          With that said there are many more instances where rape isn't reported than false reporting of rape. I would venture to say maybe 25% of rapes are reported.............
          The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ofc129a View Post
            I remember one lady who was mad because some guy she met in a chat room kept banging her but not buying her the stuff she wanted, so she said he raped her. Her story was pretty convincing, she had only met him once and he had raped her, blah blah blah. When we contacted him he showed up with a DVD of every encounter they had. Turns out his entire house was wired with video/audio surveillance because he was a freak who liked to watch, but in this case his freakiness saved him and blew her story out of the water. She admitted to it and was arrested.

            HAHA that is funny right there.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TERA View Post
              . I was wondering if you could tell me, how prevalent is this crime?

              For our agency there are far more false allegations than real, over half are false.

              What is the typical psychological profile of a person who makes a false rape claim?

              No such thing. As others have said, caught in an adulterous affair, out late, with a boy they aren't supposed to be, got in trouble at school. There are thousands of reasons why.

              How much time do you spend chasing after fictitious perpetrators or wrongfully named suspects?
              Just as much as "real" cases. You never know (normally) until the investgation is well underway.

              Do you think there should be stiffer penalties for this crime?
              Yes and no. In some cases the it makes it into the media and then if it is a false accusation a person has been ruined. Those situations require very stiff penalties.



              Thanks!
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