Not Guilty Verdict for Orlando Officer Accused of Rape
Being convicted of a crime can be life changing. For those wrongfully accused of a crime, the emotional and psychological effects often last well beyond the "not guilty" verdict. Being accused of a crime can lead to a seemingly permanent bad reputation in your community, and when the charges involve rape or sexual assault, the stigma of being accused can feel like it is life-long.
According to MyFOXOrlando, a local ex-police officer knows this all too well. The story describes an emotional but very relieved man, who was arrested last year, and tried for the rape of a woman the prosecutors claimed he drove to a police substation. The man denied physical contact with the woman. The jury rendered a verdict in his favor.
While the man was pleased with the verdict, he and his attorney claim he was treated unfairly during the course of the trial. His attorney stated to the media, "Every person is entitled to fair counsel, and competent counsel, they have an expectation when they come to court, that they'll be treated fairly, I will dare say in this case, that did not occur, but we won anyway."
Life after a false accusation
Daytime talk show host Dr. Phil, described as the most well-known mental health professional in the world, has provided online resources for those who have beenwrongfully accused of a crime. He addresses many of the psychological, emotional and social challenges faced by those who have been accused of a crime, or found to be innocent of a criminal charge.
He encourages the following strategies for personal rebuilding:
- Repairing your reputation must begin with you. Rather than feeling guilty for a crime you did not commit, or being angry with yourself, learn from the decisions that led to the difficult circumstance and begin the process of moving on.
- Help those closest to you understand the truth about the situation, and clear up misconceptions they may have from secondhand information and gossip. When they know the truth about what happened, they will likely be your best advocates with others.
- Treat yourself the way you want those in the community to treat you. Rather than hanging your head, avoiding eye contact and acting defensive, stand tall, and remind yourself that you are innocent, and that you are worthy of others' respect. Do not be intimidated by what you assume others are thinking of you. Be positive.
- Avoid reacting to rumors. Doing so may empower others to continue to spread them. Try to ignore people who are saying incorrect things, and focus your attention on the people who support you.
The rules relating to evidence in a criminal case vary from state to state. Many Florida cases have allowed evidence of other crimes committed by the accused defendant, particularly those that are sexually related. If you have been accused of a crime, it is essential that you retain competent and experienced counsel to advocate for you. Equipping yourself with the advice and support of an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. As part of my representation to those accused of crimes, I offer suggestions to cope with the stress and humiliation. Through years of experience, I have been able to develop advice which has helped many clients deal with the personal aspects of being accused.