By now, whether you live here in Chicago or anywhere else in the United States, you’ve probably heard that multiple victims have accused Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert of sexual assault.
Last year, Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison for bank fraud, which was connected to allegations that, over 30 years ago, he sexually abused teenage boys and paid one victim $3.5 million in hush money. The federal judge called him a “serial child molester” and, in addition to prison time, he was fined $250,000 and two years of supervised release. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
While Hastert will soon be released from prison, another victim has come forward with more sexual assault allegations. Richard Doe – a pseudonym – has accused Hastert of sexually assaulting him when he was in fourth grade. This claim is the most recent and makes at least five allegations against Hastert.
With so many sexual assault allegations, it’s difficult to see how Hastert can defend himself, but being charged with sexual assault is not necessarily a hopeless situation. An experienced Illinois sexual assault attorney can help craft the strongest possible defense strategy for your case and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.
Strategies You Can Use If Charged with Sexual Assault
Here are three common defenses against sexual assault:
- Claiming actual innocence. The most common sexual assault defense strategy is simply saying that you didn’t do it. While many of these cases come down to he-said, she-said, there might be evidence that supports your innocence claim.
For example, if you have an alibi that can be proven for the day and time of the sexual assault, it will go a long way in showing that you couldn’t have been the perpetrator. You will need to provide receipts, bills, tickets, witness testimonies, and any other physical evidence that proves you were in one place and not the other.
- The sexual contact was consensual. For sexual assault to occur, the victim has to engage in sexual contact against his or her will. This means if the victim consented, then no assault happened.
The kicker with this defense, though, is that you have to prove that the victim consented, which can oftentimes be incredibly difficult to prove. The victim’s history may be helpful in this situation, especially if the victim has made similar allegations before.
Remember, the prosecution has to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can cast doubt on the credibility of their star witness – the victim – you might be able to cast doubt on the whole case.
- Suppressing illegally obtained evidence. It’s important to remember that even though you’ve been accused of a crime, you still have constitutional rights. If the authorities didn’t conduct a legal search and seizure, then anything obtained can’t and shouldn’t be used against you in a courtroom. For this reason, your experienced criminal defense attorney should file a motion to suppress those pieces of evidence.
On top of that, the court should also reject any evidence that has been tainted, damaged, or compromised.
If you’ve been accused to sexual assault, don’t hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable Illinois sex crimes attorney with proven results to get started on your defense and fight for your rights.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.