Officers took the young woman seriously when she claimed she’d been attacked in dark area between classrooms this February 17th – after all, rape is a serious crime and should not be taken lightly. But what happens when those accusations turn out to be false? Making false accusations is a criminal offense in the state of California, covered by the California Penal Code, § 148.5 (False Report of a Criminal Offense).
Certainly, there is also a stigma that follows even those who have been accused of a rape that they did not commit. Penal Code 261 PC defines “rape” in California law and caries with it a penalty of anywhere from 3-8 years in state prison. Someone who is falsely accused of rape will face the same challenges as a person who is actually guilty of the crime. They may face, not only criminal prosecution, but also time in jail or prison for an offense they never committed – not to mention the way in which their communities and family members will view them negatively, even if they are cleared of all wrong-doing.
Although we may never know the reason that this young woman, whose name has not been released, fabricated charges of rape, what should be known is that making false accusations of rape carried with it the potential for criminal charges itself. In this case, it will be up to the Santa Cruz County prosecutor’s office to determine whether charges will be levied against the young woman herself.
If you or someone you know has been accused of rape or a sex crime, contact a San Jose Rape Attorney from the Summit Defense law offices for a free initial consultation.