The damage of a false accusation

Assault charges can have a serious effect on every party involved, including the alleged offender. Many Californians have had the frustrating experience of wading through such dilemmas before a fair investigation is even underway. An assault charge is generally serious, but not all cases reflect the truth. Some California residents have found themselves in the aftermath of false accusations, only to be faced with the challenge of reclaiming a reputation. 

CBS News highlighted the case of one California student who was only 23 years old when he was confronted with a sexual assault charge. Francisco Sousa claimed he had been falsely accused of sexual assault at San Diego State University in 2014 — an incident that left him suspended from the college. Not only did the young student face negative repercussions at his university; news of the accusation even reached his hometown of Porto, Portugal. Although charges were eventually dropped, the school prohibited Sousa from returning for another eight months. CBS quotes Sousa, who stated he wanted no financial gain from the lawsuit, instead focusing on his name and reputation. 

California’s laws intend to protect all citizens, but when a false accusation surfaces, that protection may seem absent. The website for California’s legislative information shares the state’s strict assault and battery laws, which can appear complex. Any unlawful attempt — paired with an ability — to inflict violence on another person constitutes assault in California. The financial penalties can be severe, with some fines reaching thousands of dollars. Imprisonment is also a possibility for those accused, depending on the type of incident. As the state’s website notes, there are many details to the laws that surround assault and battery. Uncovering the truth may take time, but the ultimate goal in these situations is to recover one’s reputation and overall quality of life.   

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