Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM BEING ACCUSED OF A MASSACHUSETTS SEX CRIME?

As you have read in various Attorney Sam’s Takes in the past, it is like being accused of nothing else.

Somehow, any allegation of criminal acts involving sex bring with it shame, embarrassment and an even greater assumption of guilt.

After all, the age-old question of “Why would she lie?” is more prevalent in these types of cases than others.

And prostitution/human trafficking cases? Well, just being associated with a sex worker is enough to change your life as soon as word gets out.

So, what should you do when you are either being investigated or actually charged with one of these crimes?

Attorney Sam’s Take On Responding To Allegations Of Sexual Crimes

These cases tend to be loved by the media. Perhaps it is because people are titillated by them. Either way, the media takes notice when allegations of sex crimes (of any nature) are released. This brings even greater pressure on law enforcement to make an arrest and get a conviction.

And so, by the time you find out that you are about to be arrested, the investigation is usually complete and professional investigators and advocates have now put themselves in a position opposite you, smile and tell you that they simply want to know your side of things. The arena in which they do this, of course, is theirs.

They already know what they believe. They already regard you as something less than human because of your filthy sexual desires which they believe you have chosen to satisfy by what they consider to be a morally repulsive crime.

Regardless of the presentation…they are not your friend.

So, the question is…why would you think that you can simply trust them to be “fair” and try to see things from your perspective?

“Sam, aren’t they supposed to try to find the truth? Are you saying that they are willingly bringing forth false prosecutions?”

No. They are not usually trying to frame someone they believe is innocent. The problem is that they have already decided that you are guilty. I can tell you from experience…most prosecutors and police officers have been indoctrinated into a particular mindset. That indoctrination becomes stronger the longer they are on the job. By the time they are investigating these types of cases, they have usually been around quite awhile.

The key to remember is that they are, in their own way, seeking the truth. It is simply that they already believe that they know the truth.

“But, if I can give them information that they do not know about whoever is making accusations against me…aren’t they going to listen to me?”

Sure, However, if you are not in agreement with what they believe happened, your statements will fall on deaf ears. They will listen, though. They will try to get you to say all kinds of things. The more you say, the more that can be used against you.

“Are you saying that this is always the case That one should never make a statement in these cases?”

Absolutes like that are not helpful because this is not a science, it is an art. One size does not fit all. Therefore, the answer to the question is “no”. However, what I am describing is most often the situation.

“Well, how am I supposed to know when I should talk and when I should not talk?”

You aren’t. Unless you have training and experience in this field, there is no way you could know. Further, even if you did have experience, it is still risky because you cannot truly use that experience and knowledge in an objective fashion. Anyone in the situation is going to be nervous and upset regardless of what the truth is.

And look at the consequences. Should you be prosecuted successfully, you face things like state prison time and the sex offender registry. If you are formally charged, you face other changes to your life such as the reaction of friends and family. Potentially losing your job. Being mandated by the court to either move away from your spouse and/or stop doing what it is you do for a living. This can go on for years. Even if charges are eventually dismissed or the verdict is an acquittal, your life may never be the same again.

“Even with a prostitution case?”

Obviously not to the same extent, but basically, yes. You see, prostitution charges have been ramped up in both punishments and stature. Now, they are human trafficking charges. There need not be any allegation of forcing a prostitute into the sex trade. The sex worker need not be under-age. You can help transport a sex worker from one location to another…perhaps doing her a favor…and it is human trafficking.

As I said before, these types of cases, because of our society’s rather confused views of sex, bring all kinds of assumptions about the accused with them. Those assumptions are seldom positive in nature.

“Ok, so what do I do if I am accused?”

The first thing to do is to treat it extremely seriously. Whether you feel you are guilty or innocent. Whether the crime being discussed is a felony or misdemeanor. Regardless of what you think of the person making the allegations.

Treat it with the seriousness it deserves. This mere accusation can change your life irrevocably. My suggestion is that you make no move until you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. That attorney can best feel out the situation and advise you.

“Will that guarantee my getting out of trouble?”

In criminal justice, only fools and liars give guarantees. But, it will certainly give you your best shot.

When a sex-related criminal allegation is leveled at you…accept that a “bad thing” has happened and delaying treating it as such can only make that bad situation worse.

Much worse.

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