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Richard L. Lougee March 13, 2020

In my time as a sex crimes defense lawyer in Tucson, Arizona, I have witnessed and defended innocent people accused of sexual assault, molestation, and other child sex crimes. One thing I can tell you is that such an accusation is difficult to overcome even after I established that my client was innocent.

After a sex crime case in which a client is accused of sexual misconduct by a child and found innocent, you may wonder why the child or their (other) parent lied about the abuse in the first place. You may also question how many innocent people are convicted of a crime and sent to jail due to the false testimony of a child or parent. There is no question that sex crimes exist. However, there is also no question that both children and adults can provide false testimony against the accused in certain cases.

Perjury or Perception: How Kids Get the Facts Wrong

Family conflict can traumatize a child. Whether its abuse, divorce, addiction, or instability, children may internalize or perceive a situation in a way that is far different than adults. Likewise, if two parents are engaged in a custody battle, one parent may try to manipulate the child to win custody.

When it comes to sexual abuse cases, children may provide false testimony based on their perception of a situation or what they have been told by a parent. However, regardless of intent, their testimony can be damaging, particularly if they’ve convinced everyone in the room that they are telling the truth.

Why Children Lie About Sexual Abuse

Although the motivation for lying is not always clear, children often lie when they sense either a threat or a reward. Some of the most common reasons why children lie include:

  • Avoiding punishment

  • Getting or sustaining a reward

  • Avoiding embarrassment

  • Seeking revenge

  • Seeking approval

Countless studies have revealed that both children and adults will lie in court to avoid punishment or reap a reward. In one study, 35% of kids lied in a neutral setting when a parent provided an incentive. Further studies have revealed that children as young as three years of age may lie for personal gain, material reward, or to avoid being embarrassed.

Why Parents Lie About Sex Crimes

In child custody cases or divorce settlements, the primary issue is control of the household – who gets what. The higher the stakes, the more likely that one or both parties will stretch the facts or outright lie to gain control of the children, the house, or the money. This means that one spouse may accuse the other of sexual abuse. It happens more often than you think.

The accused spends more time defending their innocence than they do trying to sort out the custody of the kids and the assets. Furthermore, they may lose their financial stability, job, education, or children even when they are innocent of the crime. If they are convicted, then they are likely to spend time in jail and pay a hefty fine. They may also be required to seek counseling or be denied any contact with their children.

Hire a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Tucson, Arizona

It is extremely important to hire a sex crimes defense lawyer if you have been accused of sexual abuse. An attorney can listen to your case, provide legal consultation, help you build a defense strategy, and fight for your innocence.

If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, I can help. I have successfully defended hundreds of clients against all types of criminal charges, including child abuse and sex crimes. To find out more about your legal rights, call The Law Office of Richard L. Lougee for a free consultation with a sex crimes defense lawyer in Tucson, Arizona.