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Why Do Children Make False Sex Crime Allegations?

Published: Oct 29, 2019 in Child Sex Crimes, Juvenile Crimes, Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children

It’s always terrible when a child accuses an adult of a sex crime. When a child claims sexual exploitation by an adult, it stains families and the child in particular. However, while many claims are accurate, many are not. This leaves innocent adults accused, but why would a child make a false claim?

If you’re facing sex crime charges because a child made a false allegation, you need to take the situation seriously. Call Houston criminal defense attorney Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767, and discuss your next steps in a free and confidential case consultation.

What Makes Children Lie about Sex Offenses

Children are viewed as innocent with no reason to lie, so their words normally can carry a lot of weight. But, just like adults, there could be various reasons why a child might say something false.

  • They may want to punish the adult for some reason
  • The child may be coached and manipulated by an adult seeking criminal charges against the adult for personal reasons or with the hope a civil lawsuit may provide a lot of money.
  • One parent may convince a child to make false allegations against the other parent to bolster a claim that parent is unfit to have child custody or visitation rights
  • The child may believe he or she has been victimized, but has false memories of events that simply didn’t happen

The Texas justice system is very sensitive to child witnesses and victims. Depending on their age, levels of maturity, and sensitivity, the judge may question the child, instead of the attorneys. If the alleged victim was an adult, a defense attorney might press the person much harder.

Being aggressive with a child on the stand can create animosity against the attorney and their client by a judge or jury.

Repressed, Inaccurate, & False Memories of Sex Crimes

Are a child’s memories repressed after a traumatic event, only to be triggered later, or are they a fabrication created by the child’s mind? There are disagreements among psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals concerning the reliability of repressed or recovered memories, according to Psychology Today.

The American Psychological Association also states it’s not possible to tell the difference between repressed memories from false ones without corroborating evidence.

Memory involves three processes:

  • Encoding: Forming a memory code to get the information into memory
  • Consolidation/Storage: Maintaining this encoded information over time
  • Retrieval: Recovering information from memory storage

Errors at any point in the process could cause false memories.

  • They could be created at encoding if an event is falsely remembered
  • Problems could happen when memories are stored. Even sleep can impact memory consolidation
  • They may arise at retrieval, especially if they are recalled after particular cues or tasks

Attorney Barnett Knows How to Help

If you’ve been arrested — or are under investigation — for a sex crime involving a child’s false or misconstrued memory, you need an experienced attorney who believes in you and your innocence. These cases are very sensitive and need to be handled in the most professional way possible.

Attorney Ned Barnett knows how to highlight the faults in child memories, and how to best present these arguments to judges and juries. Let us help you deal with the situation by reviewing the facts and building the strongest defense possible.

To learn more about your options when facing sex crime charges, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett by calling (713) 222-6767 and scheduling your free consultation.