The news has been filled lately with accusations of sexual misconduct. They have derailed CEOs, politicians, artists, actors, and other figures. These are only the accusations we read about in the media. Imagine how many people have lost their careers and stature in the community, from allegations that we never hear about. Most of the cases we handle at our law firm are not publicized, although occasionally we handle high profile "media cases".
Take for example the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who's likely confirmation to the court has at least been sidetracked, and may be derailed, by accusations dating back to when he was approximately 17 years old in high school. Today, a further allegation has been made from the time he was an undergraduate student at Yale University. These allegations involve unwanted touching, in a drunken atmosphere where both Kavanaugh and those who made the allegations were intoxicated. The more recent allegations date back to the early 1980's. None of these allegations were made at the time they happened, and this makes it extremely difficult to prove or disprove the veracity of those allegations.
The experience by those in the media spotlight mirrors what our clients often face. An accusation of sexual assault, impropriety, or harassment can often times derail successful careers, families and lives. Those that are accused often are shunned by society, witness the letter written in support of Kavanaugh's accuser by 600 Yale alumni who support her in her allegation, even though they may not know here at all. Contrast this to the smaller number of people who have openly supported someone facing these accusations. Often times are clients are shunned by their neighbors, lose their jobs, and even can lose their family support when facing these allegations.
There is no easy or right answer to those that are accused or a sexual offense. Often, the accused is "damned if you do, and damned if you don't". If they attack their accuser they are accused of re victimizing them, and if they don't aggressively fight back there are those that will assume they committed the offense. The only right answer to those in this situation is to quickly seek legal counsel, who is experienced and adept at handling these difficult cases.