Accused of Sexual Abuse? Still Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The American legal system is based on the bedrock foundation that a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty - although in some cases, the accused can be convicted in the court of public opinion.

Accused and found guilty in the court of public opinion? Call us at 866-630-2389. We aren't afraid to fight.

The aptly named Happy Valley, Pa., used to be a place of serenity, until throngs of people came out and accused former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse. Sandusky faced 40 counts of sexual abuse. The charges against Sandusky (who coached the Nittany Lions defense from 1979 through 1999), covered the period of 1994-2009.

But there are many cases that don't get such high profile publicity.

In Gastonia, a teenager was accused of multiple sex crimes against a child, but he had his $1 million bond reduced to $25,000 by the district judge. The teen faced accusations of taking indecent liberties with a child. The judge, however, agreed to release the teen out on bail based, in part, on the fact that he had no prior criminal convictions - but not all people accused of sex crimes in North Carolina are as "lucky."

Stricter punishment is common when the accused (or those who have already been convicted) attempt to make contact with the alleged victims. A convicted offender in Wentworth, N.C., was sentenced to 66-89 months in jail after sending a Facebook friend request to one of his victims. By doing so, the prisoner violated a specific order to avoid contact with those he sexually abused.

That was then and this is now.

The New York Times reported that not too long ago victims and advocates had to convince courts and prosecutors to take sex abuse seriously, and oftentimes charges were dismissed in court. Victims' rights movements eventually began taking shape in the form of rape-crisis hotlines and victim advocacy centers. The federal government even started introducing initiatives to help the states with funding for victim assistance services.

While research suggests the lion's share of crimes still go unreported - up to 60 percent by some accounts - sexual abuse is certainly taken more seriously these days. Not to make light of or justify sexual abuse in any way, but today, even the hint of suspicion can be life-altering for those accused of any kind of sex offense.

Look no further than the Penn State-Sandusky case.

Viewed by many as amicable and reverent, long-time Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno lost his job for failing to report to law enforcement an alleged incident involving Sandusky. Paterno instead relayed what one of his assistants said he witnessed to the school's athletic director, Timothy Curley, in adherence with expected protocols. Curley resigned in the wake of the scandal.

Sex Abuse Statistics

According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every year there are approximately 213,000 victims of sexual assault. In nearly two-thirds of all assaults, the victim knows the offender - one-third of whom are under the age of 18.

But despite the bias against the accused and the negative reputation caused by public opinion that can follow them, the law is still on the side of the accused who are considered innocent until proven guilty. If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a sexual crime, seek legal representation immediately, and consider the experienced North Carolina attorneys of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, to protect your rights.

Call 866-630-2389 or contact by email today.

North Carolina vs. O.S.
Charge: First Degree Forcible Rape and First Degree Kidnapping
Facing: 26 - 33 years in prison
Result: Dismissed

Case involved allegations of forcible rape at gun point. We were able to gather evidence to attack the accuser's credibility and discredit her story. The prosecution dismissed the charges.

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