When you read about a violent sex crime committed in a park or local street, it is usually a great relief to find out the police have arrested a suspect. As a man, you are probably not worried about this person attacking you, but you will worry about female friends and family.
Yet, what if the person they arrest is you? Sound preposterous? It could happen, and it has on many occasions in the past.
Mistaken identity is a continuing issue
There are several reasons this could happen.
- Poorly chosen lineups: Let’s say the victim remembers their attacker being taller than them. You are placed in a lineup, and everyone else is around the same size as the victim. The only tall person is you. Lineups must contain people with similar physical qualities to be fair.
- Prosecutors or police honing in on details: Let’s say the victim did not see much of their attacker, or does not remember much. However, they recall the man had several piercings in their right ear. If you also do, then the police may hone in on you. They may ignore evidence that suggests it could not have been you to favor evidence that backs up their presumption that it was. This is known as confirmation bias.
- External pressure: No police chief or town mayor wants to take the rap for not doing enough to catch a sexual predator terrorizing the town. Hence there can be pressure to get a result. Pressure in any situation can often lead to the wrong decision.
Your name will soon be all over the papers once the police arrest you for a sex attack. There is little you can do to stop that. All you can do is get legal help to clear your name.