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Retaliation may have been motive behind prison rape allegations

A 29-year-old man has spent the past 12 years trying to convince others that accusations against him were fabricated. The young man was at that time being held in a juvenile detention facility. When he was 17-years-old he was accused of raping another inmate in the prison shower. The young man has all along suggested that the accusations were made in retaliation for some other perceived incident.

At one point it appeared that the accuser was going to change his testimony regarding this matter. The accuser even signed a statement reporting that the incident was fabricated and that no rape ever took place in March 2002. However, it appears that a county attorney afterwards spoke to the accuser and told him that he could be prosecuted for perjury if he recanted his previous testimony. The accuser then once again claimed that he was raped.

The accuser has since committed suicide after recently being involved in a 21-hour standoff with police. This places the young man accused of the crime in a precarious situation since the last sworn statement of the accuser concerning the incident was that a rape did occur.

We will have to wait concerning this matter to discover whether new evidence will turn up. Apparently the accuser had written letters to Innocence Project advocates denying that a rape did happen.

As criminal defense attorneys we constantly remind jurors that the burden is upon the prosecution to demonstrate that a crime really occurred.  Though we would hope that false allegations never were raised - especially when dealing with something as serious as a rape or sexual assault - we do know that fabrications sometimes have occurred. There probably are no more devastating accusations than claims that one perpetrated a sex crime. 

Source: Missoulian, "Tragic saga of young man's suicide and involvement in Cody Marble case," Mike Dennison, April 27, 2014

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