Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Allegations In Divorce (SAID)

What is S.A.I.D. Syndrome?
Because of the growing number of false sexual allegations in divorce cases the term SAID syndrome was created to identify the problem.
What are some scenarios in which we commonly see false allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor?
(1)The allegation of sexual abuse occurs only after a divorce or other legal proceeding is initiated; (2) Where one of the parents is suffering from some type of trauma or mental illness (which may or may not be diagnosed); and (3) The introduction of a step-parent into the family after a difficult divorce.
What are some things that lead to a person being falsely charged with a sex crime?
(1) When a therapist involved in the situation has little or no experience with sexual assault cases and has made an unsupported conclusion; (2) when the police department investigating the incident does not have extensive experience with sex crimes cases.  Often there is a belief that no one would ever make such false allegations.  However, experienced sex crimes detectives, familiar with S.A.I.D. syndrome, know this is a real issue.  Unfortunately, not all cases are reviewed by fair and experienced sex crimes detectives; and (3) when one of the family members intentionally falsifies the evidence and omits vital information when reporting the incident to the police.
What are some things that can be done if there is a false allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor?
While all cases are different, in general, here are some of the things that we have done in the past to help prove an allegation of sexual misconduct is false.  To start, you need to complete the investigation that the police failed to do in the first place.  First, I recommend bringing on a former sex crimes detective to assist with the case and do an independent investigation.  This will help outline what is required for a proper investigation and determine what else should be done.  Second, we should consider a polygraph test.  It is not uncommon in these cases that police would like you to do a polygraph test.  However, they usually just ask you to go down to the police department and do one of their tests.  I usually recommend a private polygraph test with a trusted professional.  Third, we should also consider a psycho-sexual evaluation.  This is an evaluation by a therapist trained to identify these types of sexual issues.  A positive report from such a professional, combined with the other items listed above may convince law enforcement that they made a mistake or have a problem with the case.
If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney. For more information about Arizona Criminal Law or a specific legal problem, please contact the Koplow Law Firm online or by phone at (602) 494-3444.

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