Different people have varying views on physical contact. Someone might accuse you of touching them inappropriately because they felt uneasy, even though you had no intention of causing them distress. It is even worse if the accuser is a child. In some cases, someone might accuse you of the heinous act because they were angry, jealous, or wanted to jeopardize your reputation and professional life. Any criminal accusation might put you between a rock and a hard place, especially if you are innocent. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your rights. Here are the steps to take if you are falsely accused of inappropriate touching.
Categories of inappropriate touching
According to the law, inappropriate touching falls under two categories, sexual and physical. In the former, inappropriate touching involves sensitive body parts like the genitals and buttocks. The accuser could also accuse you of being sexually inappropriate if you touch a non-sexual part of their body suggestively. For instance, stroking their arm and back or grabbing their wrist. The latter involves inappropriate contact, like slapping, punching, or shoving, that could result in physical harm. However, in both, the action has to be unwanted or unsolicited by the other person to be considered inappropriate.
Laws concerning inappropriate touching
Most states do not consider inappropriate touching as a crime. However, it could be used as corroborating evidence to convict individuals of crimes such as indecency with a child, child abuse, statutory rape, and aggravated assault. The penalty for the offense will depend on what the charge of inappropriate touching is corroborating. It is not uncommon for the offender to get a lifetime sex offender registration on their record.
Instances when false accusations of inappropriate touching occur
The accuser could press charges for inappropriate touching because they misunderstood your actions. However, we can’t rule out that some accusers are malicious. Here are some common instances where false accusations of inappropriate touching occurred.
● Relationships between teachers and students
● Divorce cases
● Child custody battles
What to do if you are falsely accused
Now that you understand the categories of inappropriate touching and the laws surrounding the same, let’s discuss what to do if you are falsely accused of the offense.
First and foremost, we advise you to maintain your composure and keep quiet after you learn about your false accusation. We understand that you may want to lash out at the accuser. However, you might say something in a fit of anger that will hurt your case. We also suggest you avoid speaking to reporters and journalists or answering interview questions from the police without an attorney.
Hire a qualified lawyer
It wouldn’t be wise to face such a grave accusation without seeking legal help. In other words, you should hire a sexual assault lawyer even though you were innocent. You don’t want to be sentenced to serve jail time for a crime you didn’t commit! An experienced lawyer will examine your case and determine why the accuser misinterpreted your actions. The lawyer will then conjure up and mount a proper defense based on your case.
Save enough money
Money is a sensitive topic, but we can’t dispute that you will need lots of it in cases that involve inappropriate touching. The probability of a criminal charge and conviction is very high unless you take proactive action to prove your innocence. Therefore, we suggest you save lots of money to cover the cost of hiring a lawyer, pay for specialized psychological testing, and gather evidence.
Draft a timeline of events
Your attorney will help you do a timeline and describe what happened on the day of the alleged inappropriate contact. Start from the beginning of the day and recall where you spent every hour. You could also highlight whether you ran errands, such as going to the mall or a restaurant. It would help to retrieve the receipts to any places you visited and purchased an item to provide a solid alibi for your whereabouts.
Create a witness list
It would also help to draft a list of witnesses who can confirm your whereabouts on the day of the alleged incident. Perhaps your co-worker asked to tag along with you for lunch. Even though they were not with you at the time, they can vouch for your innocence by demonstrating you have a strong character and good morals.
Unfortunately, cases of inappropriate touching are challenging to prove and disprove. Since it is your word against the accuser’s, we urge you to keep a safe and respectful distance from the other person when interacting with them. You could limit physical contact to high fives or handshakes. It would also be wise never to assume that the other person is comfortable with you touching them. A good criminal defense attorney should help protect your rights if you have been accused of inappropriate touching in relation to rape, child abuse, sexual assault or indecency with a child.