A sexual offense charge or conviction in Missouri can haunt a person for a lifetime. It may affect not just where they can live, but public perception of them and the job opportunities that become available. Not surprisingly, when a man or woman is innocent of charges made against them, they are especially anxious about paying the time for a crime they did not commit.
In one USA Today article, a former prosecutor for sexual assault cases shared that his default position was to believe women. He noted that where people stood when allegations were made shared strong ties with political affiliations. Liberals tended to also adopt the default setting of believing the woman who reported the assault. Meanwhile, conservatives seemed more inclined to believe the denials of a man who maintained his innocence.
During his career, the prosecutor noted that few women — even those who truly had been assaulted — wanted to bring those allegations to light. Nevertheless, he also acknowledged that not all allegations were true. He shared the story of one woman who accused her boyfriend of rape after he found out about her affair with another man. While he acknowledges that false sexual assault claims do occur, he also believes they are rare. He cites a study that up to 98% of sexual assault claims, particularly where the woman knows the offender, are real.
Because of this, it can become difficult for a person to prove their innocence when it comes to sexual assault charges. One BBC article went as far as saying in these cases, the accused is guilty until proven innocent. While the article cites an incident in the UK, the implications are the same regardless of where it happens. Once a person faces accusations of sexual assault, their life begins to change forever, due in part to the work of the media.
Still, it is not impossible for a person to prove their innocence to the court. As for the work completed by the media, it may take some time before the talk dies down and life resumes its normal course.