Why Do Kids Lie in Sex Cases?
As an innocent person, being accused of child molestation is a frightening and confusing experience. Suddenly, your entire life has changed. People look at you differently. You are facing penalties that could put an end to your life as you know it. You stand to lose your job, your family, and your freedom. All because a kid has told a lie.
And kids do lie. They lie about little things. They lie about big things. And they lie about allegations of sexual abuse.
A common myth, however, that plagues cases of criminal sexual conduct, is that kids don’t lie about something serious like sexual abuse. As a defendant in a criminal case, you’re supposed to receive the presumption of innocence. The reality is, though, that most jurors don’t give you that benefit when you are accused of being a child molester.
That’s why it is critically important in defending these cases to have an attorney who understands how to present kid’s lies to a jury.
As angry as you might be at the kid who has lied about you, who is trying to ruin your entire life and the life of the people who love you, kids are for the most part, pretty innocent. They don’t have the brain development to understand the connection to the lie that they have told and the consequences that you are facing. Some of the kids don’t even understand that the story that they have told isn’t the truth.
No matter how egregious the lie, jurors aren’t going to hate a child. In order to believe that a child is lying, they need to understand the circumstances that led the child to tell that lie. They need a reason to find that you aren’t guilty, that will still allow them to forgive the kid for what they have said.
The reason that each child is untruthful in any particular case is always unique. While some children may share similar motivations, each child has different life circumstances that have led them to tell the story that they are now telling. The child’s age, the influence of the adults in their lives, the influence of other children, circumstances at school, and circumstances at home can all impact a child, resulting in a false allegation.
The key to understanding why a particular child is making a false allegation is to find out as much as possible about the child’s background, and what was going on in the moment in time that the child first told the lie. It’s also important to discover and track how the lie has grown over time, as most do. Then, you’ve got to be able to demonstrate those circumstances at trial, and show the jury, as a coherent story, why this particular child has made a false allegation.
There are a variety of reasons that motivate children to be untruthful. Sometimes, children believe that the lie will help them get out of trouble. Other children tell these stories in order to obtain attention from the adults in their life. Still other children can be influenced by their parents or other adults in their life, who may be motivated to encourage the false allegation in order to gain custody or another advantage in a divorce proceeding. Some children who make false allegations actually are being abused, but fear their real abuser so much that they tell someone what is happening, but name the wrong person. Some children lie because they are angry. Some children, especially young ones, become incredibly confused, and can easily be influenced by adults with overactive imaginations.
If you are facing a false allegation of sexual abuse, it is important that your lawyer understands how to do the hard work of discovering the story of what is behind the child’s lie in your case. It takes intense preparation for cross-examination of the child at the preliminary examination, diligent investigation, ability to role-reverse with the child and the people in the child’s life to understand their motivations, listening to your role in the child’s life, and the willingness to put in the time needed to gain a real understanding of what is happening in your case.
You don’t have to face false allegations of sexual abuse alone. If you have been charged with criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, Keeley Blanchard has extensive experience in defending against false allegations of sexual abuse or molestation by children. Contact Keeley today if she can be of help in your case.