June 24, 2012
As is true in any media outlet concerning any subject, buzz words can be powerful. The flavor of the week in Downeast law news is ‘Rape Hysteria’. This term refers to the false sexual allegations placed on some fathers and husbands. The hysteria reference originated during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 when it became ‘popular’ to make false accusations, to put it mildly. Today, 21 men have been accused of sexual misconduct in lieu of previous divorce and/or custody disputes.
These days, to Maine Superior Court Justices, ‘Rape Hysteria’ translates into ‘Prosecutorial Misconduct’. This term refers to ‘inappropriate or illegal behavior by a prosecutor’, says wisegeek.com. In this situation, the prosecutor who has tried these 21 men, some multiple times, is at risk of being disbarred for her misconduct. Grounds include several breaches of the Maine Board of Overseers’ professional code of conduct.
One of the accused, Michael Webber of Penobscot says of the D.A. in question “I was continuously put through the system for no reason”. He was charged with 14 counts of gross sexual assault, found innocent on all 14 counts, then tried again for unlawful sexual contact and, again, found innocent. “There was no circumstantial evidence” reports Webber.
There are many issues that this tricky trend stirs up. The most important being that the innocence of good fathers and husbands are being assaulted. This has severe implications on the innocence of the children involved as well who may be coerced into making false statements by the other party. Another problem is that the integrity of Maine’s justice system is being compromised. This may not be the first time, but it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to find a resolution. This is an issue that concerns John Q. Public as well. …
Steve Smith is representing Vladek Filler, the man who was the first to be wrongly accused in this modern day madness. His credible contribution to Filler’s case was recognized by the Bangor Daily News last week.