The Most Important Strategy in Proving or Defending Charges of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment

During just this past year, we have successfully represented a number of women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace – and a number of men criminally accused of sexual assault either in the workplace or in school.  In both scenarios, a dominant theme emerged: documenting the assault or harassment is crucial to the success of your case in both the civil and criminal contexts.  Because these cases often are boiled down to a “he said/she said” scenario, the existence of indisputable, supporting, documented evidence can make the difference between a huge financial settlement and pennies – and a decades long jail sentence compared to an investigation which does not even result in the filing of criminal charges.  

Sexual Harassment Context

Having even the best New York Sexual Harassment attorney cannot guarantee a large award or settlement from your claim: a great lawyer still needs some material to work with.  In today’s modern age, there is no shortage of methods to gather evidence to prove your workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault claim.  If you are being harassed or have been assaulted at work, you can be certain that when you threaten to sue for damages you will be met with fierce resistance from your employer.  They will do all that they can to prevent the public lawsuit from being filed as it will surely embarrass them and possibly impact their business; so to discourage the lawsuit they will bring heavy pressure to convince you that you will be painted as a lunatic and/or a liar.  After all, it is just your word against a large company with possibly a great public reputation and endless resources.  So before you make such a claim, you need to do all that you can to support it – before the company gets wind of your allegations and tries to cover it up.  A small, digital recorder the size of a pen can be purchased for less than $50 and slipped into your pocket.  If you are being sexually harassed at work, getting proof of the verbal harassment on a recorder can be crucial to your sexual harassment claim.  Abusive emails, texts and private messages on social media are usually harder to secure as presumably the abuser is intelligent enough to not put such illegal harassment in writing – but it certainly has happened before.  In addition, understand that everything you write back to your abuser will be exploited by his or her lawyers in an effort to discredit your claim; so be careful.  Just in the past few months our office has settled two sexual harassment cases against large companies for an average of mid-six figure settlements.

Criminal Defense Context

The standard of proof for proving a criminal sexual assault case is much higher than in a civil case: from a preponderance of the evidence standard (51%) to beyond a reasonable doubt.  So prosecutors have a tough battle on their hands when charging a defendant when the evidence consists solely of the word of the victim and perhaps some corroborating physical proof.  As abrasions of the vagina can be explained away as the result of rough, consensual sex, the prosecutor often does not have an ironclad case against the defendant.  I have defended dozens of sexual assault and rape cases in New York with tremendous success, many of my clients never even ultimately charged.  When defending such a case, documenting proof of an accuser lying about the claim will end a case before it even starts.  Considering the potential disaster of a public charge and trial, it is of paramount importance to end a sex crimes investigation as soon as possible.

After being accused of a sexual assault resulting in criminal or school disciplinary charges, oftentimes the accused will still be contacted by the purported victim.  Before doing anything, a top sex crimes defense attorney must be engaged who will guide you in gathering evidence helpful to defending your case.  A veritable plethora of evidence potentially devastating the case against you can be had: recordings, texts, social media posts and messages, as well as information about the accuser’s prior accusations against others.  Even the psychological history of the accuser can be very valuable towards convincing a prosecutor not to charge, drop the case or offer a very favorable plea agreement.  In sum, the hard work you put into an investigation can be the difference between decades in prison and dropped charges: it is as simple as that.  Call the New York Sex Crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.