What Are The Potential Defenses To Sex Crime Charges In Michigan?
One defense for any crime, including all forms of sex crimes, is to deny having committed the crime. While the proof of that defense becomes a lot more complex, the defense is frequently no more complicated than saying, “I didn’t do what they accuse me of doing.” For adult victim/date rape/campus sexual assault charges, another common defense is that it was consensual.
Child sex cases are much more complex and nuanced, and almost always involve the idea of suggestibility or a leading interview of the alleged victim. Most of the time, these cases involve a forensic interview that is conducted at a child advocacy center by someone who is trained in forensic interviewing. This training involves learning not to ask leading questions or introduce topics, but to allow the child to define subjects—particularly sexually-related subjects. The defense of these cases typically centers around creating the timeline of offenses, how the accusation came along, and what potential influences on the child could account for a false allegation.
When defending against an adult/date rape accusation, many things should be considered, such as: the accuser is not being truthful, the accuser believing that what occurred was not consensual but the accused believing that it was, or a lack of memory about whether or not what occurred was consensual. It might also be the case that the accusation is an act of revenge.
When the accuser is a young child, asserting that the child is lying is a much more dangerous proposition. The nuance is that it is possible that the child is mistaken, and that the sexual act did not actually occur, but was suggested to the child as having occurred. For instance, the child’s parent might have wanted to get the other parent in trouble in order to win a custody or divorce battle.
It’s very important to understand that childhood memory is directly tied to linguistics, so children don’t really have true memory until they have language, around age five. From the age of about five until the teenage years, memory is constantly changing because children are growing. For that reason, their memory is what experts call very malleable, which means changeable. Every time a memory is accessed, the brain codes it differently when it re-remembers it and then re-saves it. Since memory changes in children much more than it does in adults, a proper defense usually requires an expert in child interviewing, child memory, and/or sex offenses.