Los Angeles Criminal Defense: Teen Recants California Rape Story
A teenager in Santa Clarita had recently reported to authorities that she was rendered unconscious and raped by two men.
Now, it's come to light that she made the whole thing up.
Fullerton Criminal Defense Attorney Houman Fakhimi knows that such instances are more common than you might think, only the longer a lie is allowed to perpetuate, the more difficult it becomes for the alleged "victim" to recant.
That's why it is so critical at the outset of these cases, even when the accused knows he has done nothing wrong, to secure experienced legal representation. There have been far too many instances of false convictions, where defendants are exonerated by the alleged "victim" after years or decades in prison.
Just a few weeks ago in Houston, a 15-year-old high school student recanted a detailed story of a sexual assault she had reportedly fabricated in order to cover to her parents for something else she had done. Up to that point, police had been actively searching for a suspect.
Earlier this year, a former rising football star at the University of Southern California was exonerated years after his life and career were shattered by accusations of rape and kidnapping made by an acquaintance after a consensual sexual encounter. He was convicted, expelled from the university, spent six years behind bars and made to register as a sex offender upon his release. It wasn't until his accuser contacted him through a social media networking site years later to offer an apology that he was able to finally be vindicated.
The victim's reason for not wanting to recant? The possibility of having to return the $1.5 million civil settlement she received after his conviction.
However, too often, people who are innocent assume they don't need to invest in an attorney because the truth will be enough to set them free. In an ideal world, of course, it would. But sadly, that's not always the case.
In the Santa Clarita case, the teen told investigators she was walking along a bike bath toward a bus transfer station when she was approached and seized by two men. She said a cloth was placed over her mouth and she fell unconscious. From there, she reported she was taken to a nearby area and sexually battered.
Because the area where the alleged crime had occurred was so close to a school, administrators and parents were notified of the allegation -- and police scoured the area for clues.
Police began to doubt the girl's version of events, however, when forensic tests revealed a stark lack of evidence that would indicate a sexual assault had occurred. At that point, the girl admitted she had made it all up.
Thankfully, the truth was revealed prior to any arrests or convictions. Unfortunately, that's not always how it happens.
Sexual battery, under California Penal Code 243.4 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with punishments ranging from six months to 4 years in prison. Rape, as defined in California Penal Code 261, punishable by up to eight years in prison or more, depending on potentially aggravating circumstances.
Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are arrested in Fullerton.