Without a doubt sex crimes are heinous acts of violence that wreak havoc on the victim their entire lives. But what about the other victim? What about the person who was wrongly accused and/or convicted for a crime they truly did not commit. Their lives too, are ir’reparably changed forever. It happens more frequently than most would think.
In March of this year, one of the “Norfolk Four” (as they were known in the news) was still fighting to have his name removed from the sex offender registry. The four Navy men had been wrongfully convicted of a 1997 rape and murder, in which case DNA testing later proved them all innocent of the crime. The real perpetrator has since been found and confessed not only to the crime but to have acted alone. For Eric Wilson though, this has not exonerated his name from that list.
This crime continues to haunt him even though there’s been proof that he wasn’t guilty of it. There are jobs he cannot work, places he cannot live and he has a child he cannot adopt. (His wife’s child from a previous relationship.)
In the United States, there have been 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations since the DNA test first began being used in 1989. Seventeen of those convictions served time on death row. Of those 289 who were exonerated by DNA evidence, 139 of the true perpetrators have been identified. Nearly 75 percent of single perpetrator crimes involved eyewitness misidentification.
People who are wrongly accused of sex crimes suffer in countless ways as a result. To make matters worse, that leaves the true perpetrators out on the street and able to strike again. If you or someone you know is wrongly accused. Get the help you need.