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April 23, 2007
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

Half of Rape Claims are False, Experts Say

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2007 – In the past victims of rape were often disbelieved or even blamed for the attack. But the recent Duke rape case reveals that efforts to correct that problem have now created a new injustice: false accusations. And experts say false claims have become widespread.

Linda Fairstein, former head of the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, has written, "There are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen." (See correction at http://www.mediaradar.org/alert20070507.php)

Likewise, former Colorado prosecutor Craig Silverman reported, "Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes that there is. A command officer in the Denver Police sex assaults unit recently told me he placed the false rape numbers at approximately 45%."

Research supports the one-in-two false claim number.

One review of 556 rape accusations filed against Air Force personnel found that 60% of the allegations were false. In many cases the accuser admitted the allegation was false just before taking a polygraph test, or shortly after she had failed it. (http://www.mediaradar.org/research_on_false_rape_allegations.php)

In a nine-year study of 109 rapes reported to the police in a Midwestern city, sociologist Eugene Kanin reported that in 41% of the cases the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred.

"The Duke case is not an isolated incident. False claims of sexual assault and domestic violence have reached epidemic proportions in our society," notes RADAR spokesperson Teri Stoddard. "False claims not only destroy the good reputation of the innocent, they also deprive real victims from getting the help they need."

In one California case, Jessica Langshaw falsely accused eight men of rape over an 18-month period. Then she blackmailed the men, demanding they pay her a total of $500,000 to not press charges. Langshaw was convicted in 2003 on multiple felony counts of extortion and sentenced to state prison for seven years. (http://fsnews.findlaw.com/cases/ca/caapp4th/slip/2006/c047790.html)

According to FBI statistics, about 95,000 forcible rapes were reported in 2004. The men who are falsely accused are disproportionately African-American.

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.

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