In the push to change the manner in which the military handles allegations of sexual assault, there is concern among certain Marines that innocent men are being punished. One Marine Captain, who had his sexual assault conviction overturned in 2009, believes that political pressure has led to this circumstance.
An October 2013 report details the increasing number of convictions. Prosecutions of Marines for sexual offense prosecutions were said to have doubled from 2012 to 2013. Convictions also dramatically increased as did punitive discharges for Marines that were charged with these offenses.
We do need to put the numbers into context. Many assaults reported never ended in prosecution. Additionally, not all marines convicted were actually discharged from the service. However, allegations of sexual assault can ultimately destroy the careers and reputations of many individuals.
Complaints of false reports of sexual assaults came about long before Congress requested reforms. One former prosecutor who is now a defense attorney stated that many of the rape case allegations would never have resulted in convictions in the civil court system – though these cases went to trial in the military court system. There appears to be pressure on military prosecutors to pursue rape cases in the military.
In the North Carolina civil system, individuals accused of crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty. While false allegations of rape may be arguably rare, even one false claim can result in destroying a person’s life.
Criminal defense attorneys will assist wrongly accused individuals in fighting false allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence. Such attorneys will attempt to do what they can to represent such individuals, and also assist wrongly accused individuals be able to go on with their lives.