The Mirror, a British tabloid paper, ran a piece about a false rape case against a 12-year-old. Given the paper’s nature and history, I am hesitant to trust everything about the story, yet I do think it is worth writing about. According to the article:
A devastated mum has told how her 12-year-old son was accused of rape, arrested in his pyjamas and chucked in an adult police cell overnight – only for his accuser to admit 14 months later the sex was consensual.
The schoolboy had his life turned upside down and was thrown out of school with the false accusation hanging over his head after strict bail conditions meant he was prohibited from being around any females aged under 16.
The mum of the youngster – who we cannot name for legal reasons – told The New Day her innocent boy’s life has been “flipped upside down” and revealed the horrifying extent to which she was let down by police and social services.
The situation began when the 12-year-old spent the night over a friend’s house. The 13-girl-year old who accused him was also there. The pair had consensual sex and it was apparently the boy’s first time. Several days later, the police showed up at the boy’s house and arrested him on suspicion of rape against the girl. This is where the case gets weird:
Tom was taken to the cells at around 7.30pm and stayed there until 3.30am.
“In this time he was asked to give a semen sample, a DNA sample, had his fingerprints taken and had pubic hair collected.
“He was in the cell next door to adults,” his mum continued.
“Grown men were brought in and put next to him, he was terrified. I was fighting to get him home.
“In the end they agreed I could take him home as long as I had him back for an interview at 10am the next day.
I am not that familiar with the British legal system, however, I find it bizarre that they would take a semen sample at all, let alone one from a child. It is not that police have not attempted to engage in child abuse in order to prosecute it before, yet this is more extreme. It is not just forcing him to get an erection. They would either have forced this boy to masturbate (presumably in front of them) or they would have had to massage his prostate without his consent, which would be rape.
While the United Kingdom has a terrible history of not taking sexual violence against men and boys seriously, it is hard to believe their laws allow them to commit child rape or sexual abuse in order to prosecute a case. In order to match any DNA samples the police would only need a DNA swab. The pubic hair sample sounds more plausible, although they could use head hair to do a match as well. It simply strains credulity that they would take a semen sample from a child. Unfortunately, the Mirror is the only source for this story, so there is no way to verify any of this.
According to the article, the boy lied when asked about the encounter and claimed he did not have sex with the girl. The police then presented the DNA evidence and the boy admitted to the sex, said it was consensual, and that it was his first time. For fourteen additional months he waited for the court case to begin. After a four-day trial the boy was found not guilty. The reason:
During the course of proceedings, his accuser admitted to the judge the sex between the pair was consensual and she had said it was rape so her boyfriend would not be angry that she’d had sex with someone else.
This sounds believable. In many false rape claims, the reason the accuser lied is often petty and the reason it is not caught is often because the police simply do not dig deeper. It is remarkable that after fourteen months no one on the state’s side caught that the girl either lied or detected that she might recant. They either so thoroughly bought her claims or they could not see how she felt going into the trial. Either one is a failure to do their job.
The police responded to questions about placing the boy in an adult prison:
A police spokesman in the county where Tom was arrested explained “certain procedures are followed” when a child is arrested but it is not uncommon for a child to be placed in a cell for a serious crime, as the age of legal responsibility is 10.
“It is not unusual for us not to tell an adult prior to a child’s arrest what the child is being arrested for,” she adds.
“This is to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
That last bit is very dangerous, and it is one of the many reasons why minors should be taught how to deal with police. When a child is arrested, the police are not on their side. Children should be taught not to talk until they have a lawyer present.
Setting that aside, I am not sure what to make of this case. While it sounds possible, I am not entirely sure the story is true. Elements certainly match prior incidents involving false rape claims, yet the part about taking a semen sample from a child seems unlikely. Perhaps someone else will carry the story and present more information.