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Lying: What do we do with “victms” who lie?

Strauss-Kahn has been released because the rape charges filed against him in New York may be at least partially untrue. His accuser may in fact have committed perjury. What should we do about victims who lie?

Granted Staruss-Kahn is obviously no saint and in the past exhibited some pretty boorish behavior and may have taken some big risks for someone in the public eye, but should he be prosecuted on false charges? By the same token, no matter your background, personal life style, economic status or high risk behavior, you do not deserve to be a crime victim.

With all that said, what should we do with "victims" who lie? Ask the Duke Lacrosse players about their lives after being falsely accused of rape. What about an entire community and multiple families affected by a false kidnapping report by the "Runaway Bride" from Georgia. These are but three high profile cases of lying done by victims. What about the hundreds and hundreds of other similar false reports or false statements made by victims and witnesses?

My suggestions

1. We've got to do much, much better narrative interviews of all victims. Perhaps questionable cases can be discovered a lot sooner and progress no further unless truly warranted.

2. Let's not forget, we also must do a much better job of interviewing witnesses.

Regarding these first two issues, criminal justice agencies rarely give their full attention to training investigators how to adequately interview victims. More importantly, victim assistance groups also fail when comes to victim interviews. Some victims support groups operate under the dangerous and myopic philosophy that victims would never lie. (Right. Nobody lies to their dentist about flossing or to their doctor about their "regular" exercise routine and obeying their diet!)

3. Start prosecuting and charging cases of false reports by alleged victims. In these financially strapped economic times, why should the public put up with such a waste of federal, state and local resources. How do we explain to genuine victims why there are limited or no resources to handle their case?

Victim's deserve our full attention and so do criminal subjects. What happens though when the full force of the criminal justice system is turned loose on the falsely accused? Of even greater concern, what happens when the media, chasing the next sensational criminal case thoroughly destroys the falsely accused's reputation. To this day you can still hear comments about the falsely accused Duke LaCrosse players, "well, they had to be doing something wrong."

Time to start filing highly publicized charges against "victims" who make false reports. Let them serve time, or at least fine them treble damages for the cost of chasing down their case. The falsely accused should also be allowed to recover damages.

I don't care how "distraught" the person was when they falsely reported. I shouldn't take into account the past or personal history of a genuine victim. Those things should have no bearing when we consider filing charges on those would set into motion criminal investigations that can devastate the falsely accused suspect.

Just my two cents worth.

Stan B. Walters, CSP "The Lie Guy®"