Our justice system is founded on the idea that as citizens, we must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is a serious matter to accuse someone of behaving criminally. While accusations deserve to be treated with respect by the justice system, it is important to remember that not all accusations are rooted in the truth.

In Wisconsin, false accusations involving sex crimes can carry significant penalties. A Port Washington woman is learning this reality the hard way.

She recently told law enforcement that her former significant other had sexually assaulted her, both when the pair was exchanging a young child that they share and later that same day.

The male partner insisted that nothing of the sort had occurred. Instead, he asserted that the two had consensual sexual relations in a different location. When confronted with a surveillance tape of the location, which confirmed the man’s story, the woman admitted that their relations had been consensual.

She has been charged with the misdemeanor or obstructing an officer and faces both jail time and a heavy fine.

False accusations can be uttered as a result of misinformation or mistake. In these cases, victims and witnesses may believe that they have enough information to accuse an individual, though it turns out that their beliefs are mistaken. Like all human error, these kinds of mistaken accusations are occasionally inevitable. It is the responsibility of the justice system to right these situations across the board.

However, when false accusations are uttered intentionally, regardless of motive, the system exists to protect the innocent. In these situations, it is hoped that both the innocent will be set free and the intentionally false accuser will be brought to justice for his or her crime.

Source: Port Washington-Saukville Patch, “Woman faces charges for false sex assault accusations,” Lyssa Beyer, Jan. 23, 2012

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