While I would like harsher penalties across the board for false rape accusers, the folllowing news story illustrates an important point: a false claim that is not intended to incarcerate a specific man or boy (that is, where the accuser claims some phantom rapist attacked her) is different than a lie that targets a real-life human being. The former should not be punished as severely as the latter.
However, even in the case of an accusation against a phantom assailant, sometimes the police end up targeting a real life male; and sometimes they make him a suspect; and sometimes they even arrest him. And sometimes he is even convicted.
At the point that a real-life male is targeted, the punishment for a false rape accuser needs to be greater when her lie is finally uncovered. Sentencing should credit and give incentives to women who recant early, before the police actually zero in on a specific man or boy.
This also underscores the problem in treating all false rape claims the same -- a minimal sentence may be appropriate in this case and others like it, but if a man or boy had been arrested because of the young woman's lie, the allowable sentence needs to be increased.
Note also the young age of the liar. That is very typical.
HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:
False rape woman spared custody
A woman who set off a major police investigation after falsely claiming she was raped by a stranger in Orkney, has been spared a custodial sentence.
Gayle Sutherland, 20, claimed she had been raped on her way home through Kirkwall in December 2007.
Extra officers from outside Orkney were drafted in. However she later admitted she had made up the allegations.
Sutherland was sentenced to 300 hours of community service at Kirkwall Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said Sutherland came across as a selfish young lady whose actions had had an insidious effect on the community, but that she deserved some credit for admitting her guilt.