It is every doctor’s nightmare to get falsely accused by a patient of something shocking that destroys your reputation. No matter how innocent you are, there will always be some people who will assume that “where there is smoke, there is fire.”
The worst thing to do is to assume that everything will work out fine on its own. Your first phone call should be to a Seattle criminal defense lawyer who will protect your legal rights and explain what to do if your patient accuses you of sexual assault.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
Too often, innocent people think that it is safe for them to speak to law enforcement when under investigation or getting arrested because they know they have done nothing wrong. In reality, saying anything under these circumstances could get you convicted of a crime you did not commit. Your words could get twisted or taken out of context and used against you. Do not participate in questioning until your lawyer arrives, and then, follow their guidance.
Stay Off of Social Media
The prosecution will be able to access your social media accounts, regardless of the privacy settings. You might feel the need to vent or defend yourself, but social media is not the place to do so. Every photo or comment that you post can get submitted as evidence in court.
Do Not Interact with or Confront Your Accuser
If someone goes to the extent of accusing you of sexual assault, you will not be able to convince that person that they are wrong. If anything, reaching out to your accuser will look like you are trying to intimidate the person into withdrawing the accusation.
You might justifiably feel the person owes you an explanation for the false accusation, but confronting the individual is not the answer. It can only hurt you and your case if you do so. Instead, you might need to prepare yourself for the fact that the accuser might never explain why they took the action they did.
Do Not Give Interviews or Public Statements
Let your lawyer speak for you. Building and protecting your case is your lawyer’s job, not yours. You would not want your lawyer to come into the operating room and do your job.
Gather the Evidence of Your Innocence
Your defense lawyer will need to have hard evidence to present in court to refute the allegations of the accuser. If you rely entirely on the judge or jury believing your word instead of the testimony of your accuser, you are rolling the dice in a dangerous game.
Instead, you might go through the files at your practice and compile things your defense lawyer can use on your behalf, for example:
- Evidence that your office policy is for you never to be alone with the door closed in your office or an examining room with a patient without having a member of your medical staff present.
- Testimony from members of your office staff confirming that you do not deviate from this protocol.
- If this patient has behaved oddly in the past, you might have notes in the medical file or witnesses to that behavior.
- Sometimes false allegations of a sexual nature are the result of a spurned romantic advance from the patient or delusional conduct resulting from a mental health disorder. Reviewing the office files might lead to the discovery of information along these lines.
A Washington criminal defense lawyer can help to preserve the good name and reputation that you have worked hard for many years to build. Contact our office today for help with your case.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.