A local man’s hung jury trial highlights that children are more than capable of making false accusations of sexual abuse. San Antonio, Texas resident Vaughn Ernesto Manibog was accused by a 13-year-old of inappropriately touching her after supplying her with cocaine and alcohol. During the trial, the defense attorney provided evidence that the teen bragged about the allegations on her MySpace page. In addition, Manibog had an alibi for the weekend that the alleged abuse took place. The girl’s brother is currently serving probation for falsely accusing a teacher of sexual assault. Manibog’s case ended in a mistrial. The judge in this case also allowed another alleged victim to testify, although Mr. Manibog was not indicted on charges against her.
This is neither an isolated incident nor a strictly local occurrence. All over the nation, more and more people are facing false accusations of sexual misconduct against children. In May of this year felony molesting charges against a Pensacola, FL, music teacher were dropped when a Child Protection Team determined that the 10-year-old accuser made up the story. According to a statement by the accused, he expressed dismay over the fact that nobody believed him, even with the lack of evidence. More recently, a couple in Orange County, NY, filed a suit against the county and the local school district over false child abuse accusations. Their lawsuit is a rare event in the face of false allegations.
In most cases, those who make the false allegations do not realize the full impact that their claims can have. The long lasting, negative ramifications for the accused can continue even when acquitted. Once the allegations are made, guilt is almost always automatically presumed by society and the accused becomes branded. This can lead to public disgrace, harassment, and mistrust. The allegations are very serious and the word of a minor can have devastating effects.
In most cases there is no physical evidence of abuse and charges are easily believed, even with little or no evidence. The allegations are easy to make. The accused must provide evidence that they are innocent, even though the legal system is not designed that way. Maintaining the presumption of innocence in the United States is at the fundamental core of the justice system. The burden of proof rests on the prosecution and they must, beyond a reasonable doubt, prove that the accused is guilty. But when it comes to accusations of sexual abuse, it seems that the accused must prove that they are not guilty. Most cases rest on hearsay evidence, with little to no physical evidence.
At the Law Office of Dayna L. Jones we believe a person is presumed innocent until the state’s proves they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the role of the criminal defense attorney to prevent that from happening. If you have been accused of sexual abuse, the best course of action is to seek legal presentation immediately. Contact us at (210) 255-8525 to schedule an appointment with the attorney. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.