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Unfounded accusations are not always false accusations

Though unfounded accusations of sexual assault are similar to false accusations, there are some very important differences to note. Unfounded cases are far more common than false accusations.

A false accusation is one that is done intentionally. Sometimes, there is malicious intent. In other cases, those making the accusations suffer from mental issues that need treatment. Additionally, these accusations can be made intentionally to get protection from someone, with the supposed victim knowing that claims of sexual assault are likely to get a response.

The key to proving that an accusation was false is to look at motivation—such as the desire for a monetary settlement—but it can be hard to find.

An unfounded allegation, on the other hand, is one that lacks a crucial component to be determined to be true. Some of the more common issues that can lead to this end include:

-- A victim who cannot be located after the initial accusation is made.-- A victim who purposefully does not cooperative with law enforcement.-- A victim who starts the case and then doesn't follow through-- A victim who changes his or her account of the incident multiple times.-- A victim who decides to recant the initial accusation.-- A case in which the police cannot identify the assailant or prove that he or she exists.

A thorough investigation does have to be carried out to show that the accusations are unfounded.

Those who are facing charges or who have been accused of sex crimes in Pennsylvania need to know their rights, especially if they believe that the accusations are false or unfounded.

Source: The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, "Factsheets: False Allegations of Sexual Assault vs. "Unfounded" Sexual Assaults," accessed Feb. 26, 2016

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