Legal Terms

Sex abuse, rape and sexual penetration

Despite what you see in the media, stranger-to-stranger rape is relatively rare in Oregon. Most sex abuse and rape allegations arise among people who know each other, often when the complainant is too young to legally consent to sexual contact or when too much alcohol raises questions about the validity of any consent. Some of these crimes are Measure 11 crimes, some are not. Often, there is no physical evidence to support the allegations.

Detectives who specialize in investigating sex and rape allegations often attempt to interview the suspect before any charges are brought. They do so in the hope of getting a confession, but if they can’t get a confession, they want some statement by the suspect that will eventually help with obtaining a conviction. A few examples would be: admissions by the suspect that he was alone with the complainant, changing stories during interrogation that may make the suspect look like he’s hiding something, or any statement that isn’t an outright denial of guilt. Since these interviews are often unrecorded, even the most innocent and helpful statements can be distorted and misleading when they are repeated out of context by the detective.

It is human nature to want to talk to the police, to deny or to explain, in the hope that doing so will keep the charges from being brought. However, no one suspected of any crime – especially a sex crime – should talk to the police without talking to a lawyer first. This is true even if you’re innocent. Especially if you’re innocent.

If you are worried about “looking guilty” if you ask for a lawyer, don’t be. Just remember: the police themselves – when they are accused of crimes – do not make statements to other police officers until they’ve hired a lawyer first.