An Allegation Impossible to Disprove - Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree

posted by on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

There is nothing more scary and troubling then an accusation that is all but impossible to completely disprove. One theory of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree in the State of Iowa is just that.


Iowa law provides that it a person commits Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree when the defendant performs a sex act on another while the other is incapacitated. Incapacity under this section includes three separate areas: 1) mental incapacity; 2) physical helplessness; and 3) physical incapacity. "Mental incapacitated" is defined to mean: that a person is temporarily incapable of apprising or controlling the person's own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance."


As you can see from reading the definition of mental incapacitation, alcohol intoxication can and does fall under the scope of this law. Thus, all it takes is for a regretful or vengeful partner to cry foul and a "night of pleasure" can immediately turn into a nightmare where the alleged perpetrator is looking down the barrel of a sexual abuse (rape) charge requiring a 10 year prison term and membership in the Iowa Sex Offender Registry if convicted. How many times have grown adults, college kids, and high schoolers left a party, bar or social gathering after having too much to drink and engaged in the infamous one night stand? In this day and age, these events are becoming more and more common, so much so, that an energy drink company makes light of the "walk of shame" in a recent television commercial. What nobody thinks about before, during or even after is what happens if the other person wakes up in the morning and realizes they just committed adultery; cheated on their significant other; don't receive a call back; or feel slighted, ridiculed or ignored or otherwise greatly regret their previous nights actions? What happens when the person's significant other finds out and they get backed into a corner or they become irate because they don't receive a call back?


Given the law described above, it becomes very easy for the slighted partner to claim that the sex was nonconsensual due to alcohol intoxication. Once the allegation is made, law enforcement is obligated to investigate and the "suspect" is at the mercy of prosecutorial discretion whether or not charges get filed. While many of these cases may never be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the mere fact that a charge such as this if filed can destroy families, careers and a person's future. They will always be tagged with the label of suspected rapist. The most frustrating part for individuals in this situation is the fact that their innocence cannot be proven. The allegations cannot be completely disproved. An incapacitated individuals body will still often times function normally, thus, pointing to the lack of physical evidence of force is not as effective as it otherwise would be. Additionally, polygraph tests are not admissible in court and videotaping the escapade without the other's consent is a separate crime in and of itself. These situations come down to a game of he-said, she-said. Ask Kobe Bryant how much fun it is to play this game.


It's a scary and troubling thought but something that should be considered before laying down with strangers. Know the law; understand the law; avoid undesired accusations
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  2. sexual abuse