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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24051
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My adult son is being accused of raping an adult woman who

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My adult son is being accused of raping an adult woman who he thought was his friend. THey are both deaf and communicate by sign language. They have been acquaintances for a couple of years. THis past year they met again and started communicating via video phone. She was out of state working and just returned this past month. WHile she was out of state they communicated via video phone for hours several nights a week. She asked him to keep these visits a secret from mutual friends. While home, they met at a mutual friends house (she drove herself) and were intimate. She states she never signed no to him and never gave an indication that she wanted him to stop. She became angry with him only after he told her friend they were intimate. My son thought she had broke up with her old boyfriend but when he found out she started crying rape. What do we do? He has not been served and is not sure she filed a complaint but mutual friends said she was going to. What can we expect?
Hi Jacustomer,

While rape is a very serious charge, date rape is pretty difficult for the prosecutor to prove. Not that forcible rape can't ever occur between people who have longstanding friendships or relationships, but a prosecutor has to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and when two people have known each other for years it's a very heavy burden.

Additionally, from what you're saying, she has not even gone to the authorities yet. That would mean that no rape kit was taken from her, and apart from her word, there is no outside proof that they ever slept together at all. And, of course, he has a consent defense and you are saving their correspondence to show the development of a close relationship.

If she goes to the police and your son is contacted by the police and told that they want to speak to him, he should not go. If he is the suspect in a criminal case, he does not have to cooperate in what may result in his own arrest. He should let it be known that he first wants to speak to his lawyer, and then he should start looking for a criminal lawyer just in case.

He should also talk to nobody about this incident, especially not the woman who may accuse him and their mutual friends. Anything he communicates to anyone other than his own attorney can be used against him if she does report the offense and takes him to court.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So he should wait until he is arrested and not go in to see the police if requested to do so? If he is contacted by police tell them he first wants to speak to his lawyer. Also there is the issue of needing an interpreter before any communication is done.

Yes, that's correct. He has not been charged. He cannot do himself any good at all by talking about this incident with anyone other than a lawyer, and he could conceivably do himself harm. That's what the 5th Amendment is all about -- we are never required to incriminate ourselves. We have the right to remain silent. If there is something that he feels he'd like to tell the police, he should speak to a lawyer first. He or she is liable to tell your son to simply keep quiet rather than waive his 5th Amendment rights. But if your son insists on talking to the police, it should only be if he has a lawyer with him.

In his case, communication will be more of a problem, of course, but that at least that means they cannot phone him and catch him unawares and make him talk. The police can be friendly, even charming when they have information that they are hoping someone will reveal. They are trained to gain people's confidences that way, and many unwary suspects walk right into confessing a wrongdoing and end up assisting in their own arrest.

Really, there is nothing that can be done right now unless/until he is formally charged. It's likely that because these two have had a relationship and because she's already waited before reporting the crime and will not show any evidence of injury, that they even would not be interested in formally taking him into custody right away. They would more likely want to talk to him first. So about the only thing you might want to do at this point would be to get the names of some criminal lawyers, just in case you need one in a hurry. If you have no idea where to start looking for one, I'd recommend the Wisconsin Bar Assocation's Lawyer Referral Service. They charge about $50 for the referral but it includes a free half hour consultation with the lawyer.

If he is charged and appears in court, incidentally he has a right to a sign language interpreter, and the court should provide that for him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is there a time period where she can no longer bring charges against him?

In Wisconsin, she would have 6 years from the incident. (One year if she can identify the defendant and has collected DNA).

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok. Your information was very helpful. Thank you!

Pleased that I could help. The woman is very angry right now. She got caught double-dealing. The odds are still good that she'll cool off and not press charges at all.

I wish your son good luck!
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