Even if the allegations are false, much is at stake for individuals accused of sexual offenses. A sex crime charge that is never proven in court can still have a negative effect on a person's reputation and personal relationships. Anyone accused of a sex offense should learn as much as they can about the law and how it applies to their case.
False allegations of sexual assault are unfortunately a reality in the criminal justice system. For a sense of how often people are wrongly convicted based on false allegations, see our previous post, "DNA evidence: A powerful tool in Missouri criminal defense."
Being convicted of a sexual offense in Missouri can result in penalties beyond jail time, including the requirement to register as a sex offender. The kinds of convictions for which a person must register include kidnapping, sexual assault, promoting prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
With the development of new technologies, DNA evidence continues to play an important role in criminal cases, especially in cases involving allegations of violent crime such as sexual assault. In the United States, DNA evidence has been used to exonerate 321 individuals who were convicted. This number is utterly tragic, given that 13.6 years is the average prison sentence that DNA exonerees have served.
College campuses have their share of high-profile criminal cases. From the Virginia Tech shootings to the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, colleges and universities have several notorious incidents in recent years.
Even if does not result in formal criminal charges, a sex crime allegation can have serious consequences. This is true not only in the St. Louis area, but across the country.
Many people believe that Missouri requires too many people to register as sex offenders. Last session, the legislature seriously considered a proposal to pare the list of offenses that require mandatory registration.