If you face a false allegation of child sex abuse, you may wonder:
What percent of child sex abuse claims are false?
According to the non-profit Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, one study showed a rate of 4.7 percent to 7.6 percent of false allegations among reports of child sex abuse. Another study found a rate of 2 to 10 percent of child abuse claims were false.
While both studies indicate that the vast majority of child abuse claims are true, if you or a loved one are among those 10 percent of persons falsely accused, then knowing that most claims are true is no comfort.
It’s time you seek help defending your legal rights.
The reality is that the percentage of false claims might be even higher. In other studies of reported child sex abuse cases from the 1980s and 1990s, false accusations were as high as 35 percent.
The reason for these higher percentages of false abuse claims may be due to those studies including not just deliberate lies, but also unintentional false claims of child abuse after suggestive questioning by authorities.
Indeed, a false child sex abuse claim may not be intentional. They can also be “unsubstantiated,” meaning insufficient evidence exists to determine if the crime occurred.
Data shows that relatively few false allegations of child sexual abuse come from the actual child. Rather, most claims come from adults who make claims on behalf of a child.
Or do they?
Often, such false claims are made for selfish reasons.
The vast majority of false child sex abuse claims — up to 70 percent according to some estimates — are made by adults attempting to gain leverage in legal proceedings, such as a divorce settlement or child custody fight.
For example, the attorney for a prominent Houston chef recently accused of indecency with a child blames such legal leverage for what he says is a false claim.
Beyond legal leverage for ulterior motives, it’s believed that many false allegations are made by adults seeking revenge on an accused person. Perhaps a spouse or lover was spurned and makes a claim of child abuse to get vengeance. This is widely believed to be behind the years of bitter attacks by actress Mia Farrow on former boyfriend Woody Allen.
As appears to have been the situation in that case, a child can become snared in a web of deceit. Children are often coached by lying adults to repeat fabricated stories in order to bolster a false claim.
But no matter how false, all claims of child sex abuse should be taken seriously — by investigators and defendants alike.
Even if you know you’re innocent, you shouldn’t expect the truth to come out naturally and your innocence to be confirmed “when the dust settles.”
Instead, you should immediately engage an experienced attorney to fend off claims of child sexual abuse. Public hysteria feeds a presumption of guilt in today’s #MeToo movement. Indeed, prosecutions of sex crimes are different.
If you’ve been charged with child sex abuse in Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Houston or elsewhere in Harris County, we can work to get such a charge reduced or even dropped entirely before trial.
Contact us today for a confidential legal review of your case. When you’re among the hundreds if not thousands of people falsely accused of child sex abuse each year, you need a knowledgeable sex crime lawyer to protect your legal rights.