As the two news stories below demonstrate, the judge got it right: the most serious harm done by this false rape accuser was to the innocent man she wronged. Of course. That should go without saying, but sadly, too many judges insist that the most serious harm from false rape claims is to hypothetical rape victims. The judge in this case also properly noted that false rape claims stick because people assume that where there's smoke, there's fire.
But other aspects of the case are sadly typical. First, fifteen months is not long enough (although much longer than most false rape accusers get -- most such claims are not even charged).
Second, the defense counsel "stressed that her client was not aware of the enormity of her actions . . . ." http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/8319709.Jail_for_mum_who_cried_rape/ Excuse me, but she didn't realize that accusing a man of rape could send him to prison for many years? Puh-lease! I think it's probably more accurate to say that she didn't give it a thought. I think it's more likely that to her, this young male was just a prop to be used to hide what she'd done. And to cavalierly do that to another human being -- a flesh-and-blood young man, barely more than a boy, who has hopes and dreams and fears and presumably people who love him -- is despicable beyond words.
Third, defense counsel played the mother card: “She accepts her crime deserves a prison sentence, but it also punishes her children and will have a devastating impact on them.” See here It is true, the children are being punished -- by their mother, and her mother, alone. And how many men have been falsely imprisoned for rapes they didn't commit only to leave children and wives and parents behind? Those innocents are also victims of false rape claims, but no one seems to care about them. Well, I hear from them here at FRS. Their stories are almost always heart-wrenching. The difference is that the man who is falsely accused has no power to prevent it; Cheryl Moss did.
HERE ARE THE NEWS STORIES -- AFTER THE JUMP:
Warning after Bournemouth woman jailed for false rape
Police have warned that malicious reports of false rapes will not be tolerated after a woman was jailed for 15 months after lying to detectives.
Cheryl Moss, 26, falsely claimed that a 19-year-old man had raped her in an alleyway near St Peter's Road, Bournemouth, in November 2009.
Moss pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was sentenced last week at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Dorset Police said the investigation used valuable time and resources.
Despite being shown CCTV footage of the man the mother of four had been with all night and that sex had been consensual, Moss maintained her allegations were true.
Det Insp Steve Thorpe said: "Whenever Dorset Police investigates any report of rape, the victim's care is of paramount importance.
"We work tirelessly to thoroughly investigate such reports and we are determined to bring offenders to justice.
"Equally, we also take false accusations very seriously and Cheryl Moss has suffered the consequences of her malicious report.
"Her actions not only caused detectives to spend valuable time and resources investigating this incident, but, more importantly, caused entirely unnecessary distress to the man she accused."
Senior crown prosecutor Julia Woodward said the case was rare and should not deter victims from coming forward.
"This case went to court because Cheryl Moss continued with her claim despite the incontrovertible evidence that proved she had not been raped," she added.
"We fully concur with the comments made by the judge regarding the damaging effect that cases such as this can have."
Lying mum jailed for crying rape
A mother of four was jailed for 15 months for falsely claiming she had been raped by a soldier.
Cheryl Moss alleged that 19-year-old Martin Devine had forced himself on her in an alleyway near a nightclub, the court heard.
Moss, 26, later got a friend to report the ‘rape’ to police.
Mr Devine sent her a text the following morning, unaware that the claim had been filed.
The Ministry of Defence and police officers then tracked down Mr Devine.
He was on a gunneries course at the time and due to serve in Afghanistan four months later – in March this year.
CCTV footage showed Moss had made the first move before she and Mr Devine had consensual sex, said Heather Shimmen for the prosecution. Moss continued to assert her claim but failed to attend a police interview.
She withdrew it a month later. Anne Brown, for the defence, said Moss was ‘overwhelmed by feelings of enormous shame’.
Judge Samuel Wiggs said the worst effect of the ‘extraordinarily sad’ case was on Mr Devine.
‘Even if he had been acquitted it’s extremely difficult to hide as people say “no smoke without fire”,’ he added.
Moss, from Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at the town’s crown court.