As you might expect, allegations of sexual offenses are taken very seriously here in Illinois and indeed throughout the United States. Sex crime incidents can have a lasting effect on a victim's life, so it is understandable that authorities often do all they can to track down those responsible. Unfortunately, false accusations, misidentification or simple miscommunication can sometimes lead to innocent people getting punished for something they didn’t do.
In Texas, one man has been suffering the consequences of this for over 20 years. The 57-year-old man has been living with a sexual assault conviction since 1990. He was 32 at the time he was accused, having been falsely identified by a teenage girl who had been raped in her motel room. Convinced he had little chance of being cleared and not wanting to risk a longer sentence, he took a plea deal and spent 12 years in prison.
When an untested rape kit from the case was recently screened, it became clear that the man was innocent. He has now been exonerated, finally freeing him from the stigma of being seen as a sex offender. Under Texas law, he is to receive $80,000 per year that he was wrongfully incarcerated. He is also to receive a further $80,000 per year for the remainder of his life.
It took a long time for this man to regain his freedom from the incorrect conviction. The conviction deeply affected his life even after he was released from prison. However, he can at last look forward to living some of his dreams with his new income.
It may have happened in another state, but this matter illustrates to residents of Illinois just how serious conviction for a sex-related crime can be. Receiving the right guidance and acting quickly to begin preparing your defense are vital steps in preserving your good name when accused of sex crimes. An experienced attorney may be able to offer the advice and support you need in order to get your side of the story across and try to avoid conviction.
Source: Fox 8, "From convicted sex offender to millionaire, man gets new life," Aug. 2, 2014