Reasons Why Children Lie about Sexual Abuse
When an individual is accused of committing a sex crime against a child, media frenzy builds up quickly around his or her case. As a result, a defendant’s constitutional rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty get cast aside, though they exist in theory.
Even though the prosecution is required to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, when an individual is accused of child sexual assault, there is a tremendous amount of antagonism against the accused. Most people assume that person is guilty, and the defendant is often placed in a position where he or she must prove that the alleged incident did not occur.
There is also an assumption on the part of most people that “children never lie.” As sex crime defense lawyers who have represented clients wrongfully accused of child sexual abuse for more than 40 years, we know first-hand that this is not the case.
At Wallin & Klarich, we take every step to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. We work diligently to ensure that jurors see the facts as they are, without being tainted by pre-conceived prejudices or viewpoints. Many times, we have had people ask us “how can you assume that the child is lying? Why would a child lie about sexual abuse?”
There are many reasons children lie about sexual abuse, and we’ve been able to uncover these common reasons in our cases.
Do Children Really Falsely Accuse Relatives of Sexual Abuse?
Children sometimes make up allegations of sexual abuse because they are looking for attention. Especially when children do not receive much attention from their parents or guardians, they may be inclined to make up stories of sexual abuse because they believe the “attention will be on them.”
Children may even get very specific with details as they expand on their stories. When they are encouraged by adults or goaded to supply more details, it often leads to additional fabrication.
Also, it is difficult for many people to accept that a child would lie about something as serious as being sexually abused or molested. However, children often do not realize the gravity of making an allegation of sexual misconduct.
For example, Chaneya Kelly, who is now 24 years old, told police when she was 9 years old that her father had raped her. Her father, Daryl Kelly, was convicted by a jury of multiple counts of rape and serious sexual assault. He was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison and barred from any contact with his children.
Sixteen years after her father was sent to prison, Kelly stated that she made up the story to avoid being beaten by her mother. The woman is now pleading for her father’s release.
This is an example of how the accused’s life can be turned upside down because a jury believed a child who was lying about being sexually abused. Sadly, there have been many cases similar to Kelly’s.
Why Children Lie About Sexual Abuse
In Kelly’s case, the reason why she lied about being sexually abused is obvious. She was protecting her mother from the possibility of being beaten by her father. However, in some cases, the reasons why a child is falsely accusing an adult of child molestation is not as clear.
Our experienced sex crimes attorneys have been successfully defending clients accused of child sexual abuse for more than 40 years. During this time, we have noticed a few common reasons why children decide to lie about being sexually abused of molested. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Anger: A child who is angry at his or her parent, teacher, relative, coach or someone else may decide to accuse that person of sexual abuse in order to get back at that person. The child could be mad at his parents for getting a divorce or angry at a teacher for giving him detention. Children do not often fully comprehend the severity of a child abuse accusation and may falsely accuse someone of this in anger.
- Revenge: A child could also lie about sexual abuse to get back at someone who has wronged them in his or her eyes. For a child, it could be something as simple as a teacher giving the child an F on a test or a coach not giving him or her as much playing time as he or she wants.
- Approval: The approval of others, especially parental figures, is important to children. A child may lie about one parent to get the approval of another parent. He or she may also fabricate a story to win the approval of his or her friends or peers.
- Misunderstanding: Young children are often unable to understand sexual activity and it is also not easy for them to vocalize the experience. If a child starts by vocalizing an incident that an adult confuses with sexual abuse, the child may be encouraged to tell a fabricated story. However, it could be an incident where the child is just going along with what the adult is saying or describing something he or she may have seen on TV or movies.
It is important to note that, in many cases, these reasons for making false accusations of child molestation may come from another source. This is often the case if the parents or guardians of the alleged child victim are going through a divorce and/or child custody battle.
For example, the mother may convince the child to make false child molestation accusations so that she can easily win custody over the child. It may also be indirect. Rather than the mother actually telling the child to make the accusation, the child could hear the mother badmouthing the father and decide that his or her father is a bad person. Conversely, the mother may convince the child that the abuse actually happened.
Children are impressionable and will lie if they think they are doing the right thing. That is why it is important for you to have an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney fighting for you if you are falsely accused of child sexual abuse.
Why You Need an Attorney if You Have Been Accused of Child Sexual Abuse
Child molestation is a serious criminal offense in California. A conviction for child sexual abuse carries harsh punishment that could impact you for the rest of your life. You could be ordered to spend time in prison, pay hefty fines, and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life if you are convicted. That is why it is crucial that you get an experienced California sex crime defense lawyer on your side early on in the process.
Our experienced child molestation attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of child sexual abuse for more than 40 years. We will fight hard to ensure that the facts come out in your case and to help accomplish a positive outcome.
Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.