The news story below presents a classic example of what can go wrong with a seemingly innocent rape lie.
A 16-year-old girl (and these stories generally involve teens or early 20s women) went somewhere with a male against her parents' orders, and she was so fearful of getting in trouble that she made up a rape lie. This is similar to the most common motivation for false rape claims -- to cover up an illicit sexual encounter with a male.
The girl concocted a description of an imaginary male and thought the police would never pick up someone who matched the description.
The problem is, the police actually found a male who matched the girl's description. The police obtained search warrants and DNA samples from the male and his roommates -- but they were totally innocent.
After weeks (weeks!) the girl finally, reluctantly, confessed.
Imagine the hell the poor guy was put through, being accused of a rape he didn't commit. The problem is, most people can't really imagine it unless they've been falsely accused.
Men and boys have been sent away to prison for decades on the basis of nothing more than "innocent" white lies about rape. They've been beaten and killed, they've lost their wives, girlfriends and businesses because of false rape claims. Police take rape claims very seriously, and they aren't about to drop an investigation lightly. A poor, hapless male who happens to fit the imaginary description of a rapist who doesn't really exist experiences a hell unlike any other a human being can be put through.
It is right and proper that we should take rape claims seriously. But we need to start taking false rape claims every bit as seriously. Things like this must stop.
HERE IS THE NEWS STORY
Teen arrested for lying about rape near Brewer
By CHARLES WHISENANT - The Arab TribuneMonday, September 8, 2008 10:04 AM CDT
A 16-year-old girl who told Morgan County Sheriff's investigators in early August that she'd been abducted and raped has been arrested for lying.
Morgan County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Mike Corley said the girl admitted to lying when she told investigators she was sexually assaulted near Brewer High School.
"We have charged her with filing a false police report," Corley said.
"She was sent to a juvenile detention center and was later released to her parents."
Corley said she was charged because the department spent "no telling how many man hours on the case."
"We brought in several individuals and interviewed them," Corley said. "We got search warrants, we tied up a lot of people for a lot of time for a lie.
"It's really a sad situation," he continued. "It's especially sad for her family. I can't imagine the embarrassment for them. I know them personally, and I really feel badly for them."
Corley said the department is obviously glad the rape didn't happen."That's the good side of it," he said. "We are thankful that it didn't really happen."
Corley said the girl apparently made up the story because she had willingly gone riding with a guy after her parents told her not to.
"It was the fact that she was so fearful of the trouble she would be in because she had been warned not to get into cars with other people and she did," Corley said. "She just created the rape story. She told us that she knew we would never find a person like she described, that that we would soon drop the case and just forget about it."
Unfortunately, Corley said, sheriff's deputies actually stopped a truck that matched the description of the one the girl gave.
"We were bringing in the 'right' vehicle with the 'right' guy, but he had done nothing wrong," Corley said. "We also took DNA from him and his roommates, but they were as innocent as the day is long.
"The girl was actually with another guy that she wasn't supposed to be with, but nothing illegal happened," he added.
Corley said he hates that so many innocent people were stopped and questioned.
"I hope people understand that we were doing what we were supposed to be doing," he said. "We were trying to get leads and follow up on what we thought to be a rape case. We worked it very aggressively for a few weeks until she finally told the truth."
Corley said investigators finally coaxed the truth out of the girl following extensive interviews.
"She didn't give it up easily, but once it started to unravel, she finally admitted that she made it up," he said. "I really hope she gets help and is able to live it down and have a normal life. I just hate it for everyone involved."