Although it seems that the Harvey Weinstein-Bill O’Reily-Bill Cosby-Donald Trump-Roger Ailes-Charlie Rose- et cetera-et cetera-ad nauseam sexual assault and sexual harassment scandals have “died down” in the media for now, my phone keeps ringing with #metoo cases.
So, who’s calling? People who are accused — or fear they might soon be accused — of a “me too” case.
In fact, I specialize in representing people who are dealing with criminal and civil allegations for sexual harassment or sexual assault.
It’s tricky when you are sued in a civil case and are the target of a criminal investigation for the same allegations. In this situation, because I have criminal and civil litigation experience, I get hired to help my client’s navigate.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution can be your new best friend, in these circumstances.
I’ve handled several high-profile matters with involving these types of allegations, especially in the last few years. It got me thinking — there’s often a very blurry line between a civil and a criminal sexual assault case.
These days it’s all too common for alleged victims to attempt to gain an advantage in their civil case by reporting the matter to police, and vice versa.
In my criminal law practice, I’ve concentrated on defending men (usually) accused of raping, assaulting, abusing, kidnapping, and even murdering their girlfriends, domestic partners, spouses and children.
My clients hail from all socio-economic strata. Yes Dorothy, it’s not only poor people who are accused of committing these crimes. Many times, I’m retained by high net worth individuals who are too ashamed to go to their “white-shoe” law firm for help.
To lawyers I know who also are in the trenches, the current allegations against the powerful men that have flooded the media during the last several months, are hardly news. These cases and stories won’t go away any time soon.
Because they have always been here.
They are happening everywhere, all the time.
As consciousness continues to be raised amongst the ongoing #metoo postings, as more victims come forward, and as others are implicated in enabling or covering up the misconduct….. I expect to see many more of these types of disputes.
Because “consent” is a loaded term. (No pun intended.)
So here are three tips I suggest to people (men and women) who are concerned that they may be accused of a civil or criminal sexual harassment or sexual assault case, or of aiding and abetting one as the case may be:
THREE TIPS IF YOU FEAR YOU MAY BE ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Tip No. 1:
Do not delete any emails, electronic communications, voice mails, or social media posts that in any way relate to your relationship to the victim, the perpetrator, or what allegedly happened: the knee-jerk reaction many people have who are frightened is to delete and cover up. DON’T. Depending on what you delete, this could be considered obstruction of justice and make your “situation” even worse.
Tip No. 2:
Don’t post anything in social media, write any emails or (non)electronic communications about the incident, the victim, your involvement, or your feelings about what happened. And, don’t speak to anyone about what happened. From here on out, mum’s the word. The only person you should discuss the incident with is your lawyer, or your priest if you have one.
Tip No. 3:
Find a lawyer you can trust, one you feel safe enough with to tell everything to – not only the gritty details of what happened, but also your entire life story, the good, the bad, the ugly. Find someone you feel you can open up to, who you feel understands you, because the best lawyers I know will need that level of openness and communication from you in order to do their best work. They will need to understand not just what happened, but all about the circumstances in your life that led you here, to this place in time, where you are facing horrific allegations which may or may not be true.