Thursday, August 29, 2013

Woman convicted of falsely accusing boyfriend of rape was previously convicted of filing a false report of sexual assault. Her sentence this time: 60 days

Octavia Faustini was convicted earlier this month of falsely accusing her boyfriend of rape. At her sentencing hearing yesterday, the prosecutor revealed that Faustini has a prior criminal record that includes a 2002 conviction for filing a false report of sexual assault.

What do you think her sentence was for the 2002 crime? A $100 fine.

So what do you think her sentence was yesterday for latest crime -- which the judge said had a potentially significant negative effect on her former boyfriend? 60 days in jail.

No, we're not kidding. Sixty days. She could have received up to 364 days, and the prosecutor only sought 90 days. (By the way, her criminal record also includes assaulting an officer, assault, criminal mischief and telephone harassment, the prosecutor said.)

How can a 60 day sentence be called "justice" to the wrongly accused boyfriend?

If we want to take sexual assault seriously, we need to take false accusations of sexual assault seriously. A society that doesn't think falsely "crying wolf" is a serious matter must not think the wolf is such a bad thing after all.

And giving false accusers a slap on the wrist does no favors to rape victims. When rape liars are given license to destroy innocent lives by not punishing them adequately, it undermines the public's confidence in the way rape is prosecuted. Rape is a very serious offense, typically carrying with it a very serious penalty. When prospective jurors see that rape lies, and even serial rape liars, are tolerated with only de minimis condemnation, they will be all the more wary about convicting even men and boys who deserve to be convicted, for fear of getting it wrong. Is that really what we want?