Sexual harassment cases are highly sensitive and potentially devastating. If accused of this crime, you could face serious consequences, including jail time and a damaged reputation. It is critical to protect victims of sexual harassment in many different environments. This is why the penalties of such violations have gotten stiffer over time.
But what happens if you're accused of a crime that you didn't commit? If you believe that you're being falsely accused of sexual harassment, you'll need to develop a plan for protecting yourself as soon as possible. Here are the immediate steps you should take when such allegations come out.
1. Know the Law and Specific Circumstances Regarding Your Case
Sexual harassment occurs in many different circumstances. Some cases happen in the workplace as a quid pro quo relationship. In contrast, others may arise within a marriage or friendship. If you've been accused of harassment, you should be generally aware of the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, did the victim give non-coerced consent throughout the act? Was the victim sober or otherwise capable of expressly giving consent? Was this consent withdrawn during any part of the encounter?
It may also help examine your relationship with the accuser to determine why they may be taking action against you. Some cases may be a mischaracterization where you fit a similar description with the perpetrator. In other situations, the victim may have malicious intent driving the false accusation.
2. Minimize Direct Communication With Law Enforcement
If you feel that you've been falsely accused of sexual harassment, your natural instinct may be to clear your name by telling your side of the story. However, many legal nuances surround sexual harassment cases. Even one missed detail or inconsistent account could be used against you in court. This is why you should have a lawyer represent you before directly communicating with law enforcement.
A sexual harassment lawyer understands the circumstances of these cases, and they will communicate your account to relevant law enforcement bodies. These attorneys also understand your rights under the law. They will use them to protect you against any judgment rendered before the case is tried in court.
3. Clearly Document Your Experience
After seeking the services of a sexual harassment lawyer, your next step should be to retrace your steps. Document details of your experience, including your relationship with the accuser, where it occurred, how it happened, and possible reasons why you're being accused. If there were any witnesses present, share their contact information with your lawyer. These details will be critical when preparing your defense in court.