The district attorney also declined to charge either party with public indecency, commenting that the embarrassment was punishment enough. Of course we don’t know; it may be that she thought that any level of intoxication renders consent invalid, as many campus programs are teaching today.
But, as sociologist Kathleen Bogle and law professor Anne Coughlin recently noted in , this is far from the legal standard for incapacitation required in a criminal finding of sexual assault.
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This does not include cases in which charges are filed but rejected for prosecution (between a quarter and nearly half of all cases), or the relatively small number of prosecutions that end in dismissal or acquittal.
Of course not all such cases involve innocent defendants—probably not even most; but surely some do.
What of he said/she said cases in which the truth is never known?
Not all reports classified as unfounded are necessarily false.
In some cases, women who were victims of rape were disbelieved, pressured into recanting, and charged with false reporting only to be vindicated later on—the kind of awful story that adds to people’s skittishness about discussing false accusations.
Some police departments have been criticized for having an anomalously high percentage of supposedly unfounded rape charges: Baltimore’s “unfounded” rate used to be the highest in the nation, at about 30 percent, due partly to questionable and sometimes downright abusive police procedures, such as badgering a woman about why she waited two hours to report a street assault.
Last December a woman writing in the comments section of the website claimed Oberst raped her when she was a teenager.
The charge spread across the Internet; Oberst denied it and brought a libel suit against Faircloth when she refused to retract the story.
five years ago, official data on what law enforcement terms “unfounded” rape reports (that is, ones in which the police determine that no crime occurred) yield conflicting numbers, depending on local policies and procedures—averaging 8 percent to 10 percent of all reported rapes.