A former school counselor in Covington, KY, has successfully sued a Covington Police Officer in federal court, claiming the officer falsely arrested him for sexual abuse of a 7-year old boy. The lawsuit, filed in April of 2010, concerns a criminal case from early 2009 that was quickly dismissed after a grand jury refused to indict the school counselor based on a lack of evidence.
In the lawsuit, the counselor claimed the arresting officer submitted only the alleged victim's statements to obtain an arrest warrant. The officer never interviewed the counselor or found any physical evidence the boy was abused. Essentially, the only "evidence" the arresting officer had was the boy's unsubstantiated claims of sex abuse. Based on this alone, the officer obtained the warrant and arrested and jailed the school counselor.
As a result of the shocking allegations, the school counselor lost his job. And even though the criminal case was dismissed, he claimed in his lawsuit that his life was ruined. The jury agreed, awarding him over $1 million.
This case highlights the enormous negative impact sexual allegations have on the accused individual. A conviction of sexual abuse is one thing-but as this case demonstrates, even the stigma associated with false allegations is significant.
When a detective notifies someone of a pending sexual abuse investigation and calls that person to get his or her side of the story, that person should not speak with the detective. Instead, the individual should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
When false allegations of sex abuse arise, an experienced criminal defense attorney will run "interference." "Interference" consists of using numerous strategies and every resource possible to try to prevent the authorities from charging that person with a serious crime.