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Not all sexual assault allegations are true

Instances of inappropriate behavior on college and university campuses have been making news lately. Many schools are having to answer for an atmosphere that supposedly fails to protect their students from sexual assault. A recent claim, however, brings to light another side to the story that advocates fail to talk to about -- false claims.

The East Tennessee State University's Department of Public Safety recently received a complaint from a female student that a male student with whom she was acquainted had sexually assaulted her. The alleged attack supposedly took place on Sept. 14 in one of the university's buildings where classes take place. Later, the female student recanted her story and admitted that the assault never took place.

An investigation is now being conducted at the university to determine why the woman filed the complaint in the first place. It is not known what action will be taken against her, if any. Had she allowed the investigation into her allegations to continue, the man she implicated in the supposed assault could have suffered serious consequences to his life even before the truth of her allegations was ascertained.

Sadly, there are alleged victims of sexual assault in Tennessee whose claims turn out not to be true, which does a disservice to real victims and those who are wrongly accused. These cases are why our criminal justice system's most important element is that every person is presumed innocent until -- and only if -- proved guilty in a court of law. In the meantime, the alleged attackers can suffer harm in their social circles, at work and be subjected to arrest and incarceration if they are unable to afford bail. Furthermore, they may have to engage criminal defense counsel in order to contest the accusations.

Source:, "Report of sexual assault at ETSU unfounded", Sept. 19, 2016

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