The following story of a false allegation of rape shows the harm that can be done to someone even when police and prosecutors do everything right.
The story was reported by Quillette, and features the saga of “Jared” and “Kate,” two pseudonyms used to protect their identities (the accused, to protect his name; the accuser, in the hopes she can receive treatment for her mental illness and be rehabilitated).
Jared and Kate had a turbulent relationship for three years and every time he tried to break up with her she would threaten to commit suicide or hurt herself in other ways. When Jared finally did break up with Kate, she proceeded to send him emails about her feelings after the breakup.
In one email, Kate begged Jared to remain friends “with benefits.” She sent that email on the same day she and her new boyfriend announced on Facebook they were official. Kate wrote to Jared, “i didn’t have any true feelings for him” and “i always made it clear to him that my feelings for you had not faded and probably wouldn’t,” Quillette reported.
Kate also sent a 45-minute video in which she told Jared, “you don’t have to be scared to turn the corner and face me anymore.” In another email, Kate told Jared, “my hands are shaking. please don’t replace me. with anyone…i am scared that this has had no big effect on you. that you are fine, not thinking about me, and getting a good nights sleep. i can’t go a second without thinking about you.”
Jared didn’t respond to her torrent of messages. After awhile of getting no responses, Kate went to the police and accused Jared of abuse.
Police investigated Kate’s claims and closed the case. As Quillette reported, “Jared’s lawyers were able to debunk the assault accusations using information that Kate herself had provided in a lengthy video message and emails.”
But even though the case was closed, the accusation itself was enough to damage Jared’s career as an up-and-coming musician. Venues cancelled his band’s gigs after people complained online about hosting a “rapist.” The band stood by Jared and were attacked themselves. They faced accusations of sexism and misogyny, according to Quillette.
Kate claimed the case was not closed and repeatedly called police claiming to have new evidence, but never provided such evidence.
“The police reportedly became annoyed, after officers realized that they were being used as part of a character-assassination campaign,” Quillette reported.
As Quillette’s Diana Davidson wrote, “It’s rare for police to take any action against a woman who claims that she was sexually assaulted, even when there is evidence that she is lying.” Yet in this case, police charged Kate with stalking.
She spent a night in jail and was to appear in court, but before she entered the courtroom, she began “shaking and yelling that she couldn’t go through with the process.” She fought the guards trying to bring her into the room. Through it all, her new boyfriend remained supportive in the courtroom.
Jared learned that Kate wanted a plea deal. He wanted her to apologize on every social media platform she defamed him on and admit to her lies. He received an apology from her addressed only to him. Jared also compiled a list of financial damages due to Kate’s actions, but the amount was “deemed too large for a restitution order,” Quillette reported.
Jared was harassed, stalked, and falsely accused of rape, and his accuser was allowed into a diversion program that included mandatory therapy and an apology to Jared. She was prohibited from posting on social media, and when she was given that privilege back, she immediately posted a statement implying everything she had said was the truth.
Jared, on the other hand, was smeared and had his livelihood threatened. He is now performing again and going to school.
As Quillette reported, this type of post-breakup behavior has happened “in many relationships since time immemorial” (this author can attest to being on the receiving end of such behavior) and has always been difficult for police to handle.
As Davidson wrote, “authorities cannot let the politics of #MeToo, or any other political movement, interfere with their mandate.”