In the second half of 2017, we saw the rise of the #MeToo movement, with countless women (and some men) having the courage to come forward and share stories of their experiences with sexual assault and harassment. The firestorm began nationally with the accusations against powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein, but we have seen the story take a local turn as well, with numerous sexual harassment claims against staff and faculty at Penn State University.

It is absolutely a good thing that the current environment allows victims to speak up and actually be heard and believed. However, due process still exists, and if you have been accused of harassment, assault or another sex crime, you still have rights that must be respected and protected.

If you have been accused of a sex crime, you must take these steps right away:

  • Realize the seriousness of the situation: It does you no good to be in denial about the circumstances in which you find yourself. Sex crime charges are extremely serious, so you must consider the potential consequences you face if convicted.
  • Hire an experienced attorney: It is imperative to find an attorney with experience managing sexual assault and harassment cases. This professional will be able to advise you on how to proceed and the best strategy for your defense.
  • Create a timeline: Create a timeline of your relationship with the alleged victim and put it in writing. Go into as much detail as you can about your side of the story and the incidents the victim alleges have occurred.
  • Collect witnesses: If you have any witnesses who can back up your side of the story, create a thorough list that includes their contact information and the information to which they can testify.
  • Keep yourself in check: This means no inappropriate comments, no social media use and no unprofessional court behavior. It’s important to be professional and courteous at all times.

For further guidance on your legal rights when accused of a serious crime or to schedule a consultation, call Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law at 814-483-7075 or contact us online.