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