- Dr. Charles McDowell, formerly of the US Air Force's
Office of Special Investigations, discovered that 27% of Air Force women who claimed
they had been raped later admitted making false accusations of rape. The admission
usually came when they were asked to take a lie detector test. With these admitted
false accusations he was able to develop 35 criteria distinguishing false accusations
and those known to be genuine. Three independent judges then examined the remainder
of the cases. Only if all three reviewers independently concluded the original
rape allegations were false did they rank them as "false." The total of false
allegations became 65%.
The study was buried and Dr. Charles McDowell
was ostracized and reassigned.
In an interview in the June 1985 issue
of Chicago Lawyer, McDowell told Rob Warden, the editor.
How was the model developed?
A: It is based on a study of 1,218 cases that
were initially investigated as rapes. Of those, 460 were proven rapes, 212
were disproved allegations, and 546 cases remain unresolved.
Q: What were your criteria for classifying a rape accusation as disproved?
A: There was just one criterion. In each case, the victim ultimately admitted
that the allegation was a hoax.
Q: All 212 of those cases are
now admitted to have been false allegations?
A: Yes. That's the reason that
we have a leftover category of 546 cases. My personal opinion, based on the evidence,
is that many of those also are false allegations. but they are not admitted hoaxes,
and we have not classified them as disproved. We have been extremely conservative
in classifying an allegation as false for purposes of the study.
were your criteria for classifying an allegation as proved? Are these all convictions?
A: They're not all convictions. Some are, but the remainder are cases in
which the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence support the allegation so
strongly that there really is no other logical conclusion.
Q: Then your
standard for classifying an allegation is false?
A: Definitely. If
there was a margin for error, if there was any area in which we gave the benefit
of any doubt, it was in favor of a rape."
ADMITTING IT is also a problem....
- 40 percent of complainants
eventually admitted that no rape had occurred in a 9-year study conducted by former
Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin. (Source: Archives of Sexual Behavior,
Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994)
- 50 percent of accusers recanted
their rape charges in a study of two large Midwestern universities by Kanin.
than 25 percent of rape accusers admitted -- either just before they took a lie
detector test or after they had taken and failed it-- that they had lied about
the charges in a 1985 Air Force study of 556 rape accusations. A further investigation
by independent reviewers found that 60 percent of the original rape allegations
- One in four rape reports were unfounded
in a 1990 and 1991 Washington Post investigation in seven Virginia and
Maryland counties. When contacted by the Post, many of the alleged victims
admitted that they had lied.
- In a 1996 Department of
Justice study of 10,000 sexual assault cases analyzed with DNA evidence over the
previous seven years, 2,000 excluded the primary suspect, and another 2,000 were
- According to Linda Fairstein of the New
York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, "there are about 4,000 reports
of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen." Source:
Fairstein,'s book, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape
A woman has to admit that she lied in order for a rape charge to be determined
as false, in most studies and in most courts and communities. Most, if not all,
police departments will not declare a rape charge as false just because the complainant
fails to pursue the charge or does not cooperate on the case, regardless how much
doubt the police may have regarding the validity of the charge
material was excerpted from "Research Shows False Accusations of Rape
Common," by Marc Angelucci and Glenn Sack