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Why would someone file false allegations of sexual assault?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2023 | Sex Offenses |

Despite the validity of most sexual assault claims, sometimes a false allegation leads to legal complications. The motivations behind false claims vary, though there are some common reasons for accusers to make false statements.

Understand what drives people to file a false report so that you can take steps to build a defense.


Retaliation drives many false allegations of sexual assault. Sometimes, an accuser perceives a wrong, such as a personal dispute, failed relationship or emotional slight. They might make allegations in an attempt to hold them accountable.

Covering misconduct

Some false allegations result from an attempt to cover up for misconduct. If someone behaves inappropriately or fears that they made a poor decision that they need to deflect attention from, a false allegation could do so.

Seeking financial gain

In some situations, an allegation of sexual assault results from an effort to seek monetary compensation. The goal in these cases is often a settlement.

Psychological issues

You might face false allegations of sexual assault from someone as a result of mental health issues. Delusions, hallucinations and distorted perceptions of reality contribute to these instances.

The State of Virginia’s sentencing guidelines mandate a minimum 5-year sentence for convictions of criminal sexual assault. In certain situations with aggravating factors, the recommendation is much longer. The more you know about the common motivations for false accusations of sexual assault, the easier it is to illustrate the truth in court. Gather evidence that supports the motivation when possible to reinforce your argument that the accusations are invalid.