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April 30, 2007
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

False Claims of Rape Hurt Real Victims, Advocates Say

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 – The recent exonerations of men wrongfully accused of rape reveals that false allegations not only represent a travesty of justice, they also end up harming true victims of rape, advocates note.

Last week a Chicago judge exonerated Jerry Miller, who spent 24 years in prison following a wrongful conviction of rape in 1982. And two weeks ago, North Carolina district attorney Roy Cooper declared the three Duke University lacrosse players innocent of all charges.

Half of all rape claims are believed to be false – studies show that 27-50% of women end up recanting their allegations. (http://www.mediaradar.org/research_on_false_rape_allegations.php)

False rape claims harm real victims in 3 ways, explain advocates:

  1. The time and resources devoted to investigating false claims deprives real victims of the services they need.
  2. Prosecutors and juries become more likely to dismiss victim testimony.
  3. Rape victims are more reluctant to come forward and file a complaint.

"Thanks to a false allegation of rape, millions of dollars in taxpayer money were spent prosecuting the Duke lacrosse players," notes Teri Stoddard, RADAR spokesperson. "That money should have gone to helping real victims, instead."

Players and attorneys in the Duke case are calling for reform of the criminal justice system. "There seem to be some flaws in the legal system that should be addressed," remarked Collin Finnerty shortly after he was declared innocent of all charges.

False allegations of domestic violence are widespread, according to a recent RADAR report: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-A-Culture-of-False-Allegations.pdf . Eighty groups around the country are now calling for broad reform of the nationís laws that govern the prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence.

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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