As a Baltimore Maryland Criminal Attorney I have always found that among the most difficult types of cases to defend is the client who is wrongfully accused of a https://www.mdattorney.com/lawyer-attorney-1300820.html. I have blogged about this issue in the past but I am currently representing someone whose situation is a little different that most of my past cases. In most of the cases like this that I have handled, the issue was consent. There was never any question in these cases that sexual contact had occurred between the parties. The issue was did the woman consent or was she forced in some way or simply too intoxicated to validly consent?
The case that I am currently handling is even more difficult because the charges are an outright fabrication. As we all know, it is extremely difficult to prove a negative, that is, prove that something did not happen. This is precisely what we are faced with in this case because the alleged incident simply never occurred. Here are the facts:
My client is a high level executive in a large organization. He runs a division in which he supervises over 30 people. He had a secretary whose work was substandard and after months of good faith efforts to train her had failed, he decided that he had no choice but to terminate her. As in most large organizations or bureaucracies it can be very difficult to terminate a non-performing employee. The process requires months of documentation and counseling to be able to demonstrate that the person was given every chance to succeed and was treated fairly.
The final step in the process was to transfer the problem employee to another division to have an independent evaluation done by a neutral supervisor. Barring a substantial difference of opinion, the employee can then be let go. This is the point in the process where this problem employee was when she fabricated the sexual assault by my client. In fact it was her very last day on the job before being transferred for her final 45 day review.
I was on this day, the alleged victim’s last day with his department, that my client first realized something was odd when she stayed well past the time that her day normally ended. In fact when she was two hours past her normal departure time he asked her if she needed any help carrying out her things and she refused. My client thought this was odd as she had never stayed late in the past but he chalked it up to her closing out her business and didn’t think too much of it. A few moments later the last employee other than my client and the alleged victim left the building. My client went to the rest room about this time and when he returned, she was gone.
A few days later he received a call from the police indicating that they were investigating an allegation of sexual assault made by this woman. She claimed that after everyone other than she and my client had left for the evening, that he had approached her and assaulted her by grabbing her breast and shoving his hand down her pants. Needless to say my client was floored and immediately went down to the police station and gave a statement explaining that the allegation was a total fabrication by a disgruntled employee who was trying to save her job. As of today the investigation by the police is still an active one.
In addition to reporting the fabricated assault to the police, this woman also filed for a peace order in the District Court. The temporary order was granted after an ex-parte hearing. My client was then served with the Order as well as the notice for the hearing for the final order where he would have his chance to refute the allegation.
The client hired us at this point and we went quickly to work as we had only a few days before the hearing. The first thing we did was order the recording of the temporary hearing and request a one week continuance. Once we received this recording we were able to compare what she said in the hearing with what she had told the police. There were differences between her two versions although not major ones but she had not yet been subjected to crucible of cross examination wherein most fabricators are revealed.
At the final peace order hearing she testified and this time added a entirely new act to the tale she had told to the police and to the judge in the first hearing. This time after allegedly being assaulted while she was seated at her desk, she ran down the hall with her boss in hot pursuit. He then supposedly assaulted her again and tried to block her way out of the building.
On cross examination I started with the details of the events preceding the assault such as why did she stay late; what was she working on. She had significant difficulties answering these questions under intense questioning and began to get flustered. She repeatedly protested to the judge that these were “irrelevant” questions. I responded by reminding her of the axiom that the devil is always in the details and asserting that the reason that she couldn’t remember what she was doing prior to the alleged assault was that she was doing nothing at all other than lying in wait until there was no one else left other than the two of them so that her story could be at least plausible.
I next moved on to the details of the alleged assault and confronted her on the inconsistencies in her story. She couldn’t explain why she left out significant details the two previous opportunities to tell her story other than to say that she forgot. By now it was clear to everyone in the room including the judge that she was lying. I then confronted her with direct evidence that she had submitted false time sheets and been paid for time that she did not work. This was perhaps the most uncomfortable questioning for her and at one point she asked the judge if she could postpone the hearing because she thought she might need an attorney. I don’t think I need to explain that this was a devastating blow to her credibility.
At the end of the hearing the judge essentially accused her of fabricating the story noting that she had “not even come close” to establishing her case by the clear and convincing evidence standard used in these cases. The next step will be to use the transcript of the hearing and in particular her testimony to convince the police to close their investigation into this obvious fabrication.