Is it rape because the girl said so? If the police in Broward County, FL, believe the girl who is claiming rape, why didn’t they come to our door for his clothes or a DNA swab?

My 17 yr old son went to a graduation party in Broward County, FL, with all underage drinking. His ex girlfriend (also 17) was there. They ended up in the bathroom together because she fell and he wanted to check her head. She claims he raped her. She had the tightest jeans on and he had surgery on his right ring finger the day before. It is almost impossible. He was so drunk he just remembers checking her head and then throwing up. He denies any sexual activity at all. She did not call the police. Only when the police showed up for the noise did she report it. A rape kit and investigation was done.

Asked on June 15, 2009 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

At this stage, it is important for you to distinguish between the difference between an arrest and a prosecution.  For the police to arrest someone, all that they need is "probable cause" that the suspect may have committed the crime.  An alleged victim's sworn statement, combined with a rape kit, may be sufficient for the police to establish probable cause to arrest.  On the other hand, the state must establish "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" in order to convict -- a considerably higher burden of proof compared to "probable cause."  Therefore, all of the evidence that you discuss, such as her jeans, his broken finger, the "he said/she said" stories, her failure to report, and potentially exculpatory DNA evidence, may serve to negate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Nevertheless, rape is a serious allegation, and it is important that your son consult with and/or retains a criminal defense attorneyin Broward County, FL in the interest of formulating the best possible defense as this matter is investigated and/or prosecuted.


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