A person doesn't have to be convicted of a crime for allegations of sexual misconduct to have devastating consequences. If you have been accused of sexual assault or another sex-related offence, then you are facing the possibility of serious reputation damage and loss of your employment, and it is important to have a skilled criminal defence lawyer to intervene on your behalf as soon as possible.The repercussions of unsubstantiated allegations can affect an accused individual for years to come and beyond the borders of Canada. Consider the unfortunate case of a British Columbia man, a former police officer who was accused of sexual assault by his foster daughter. No charges were ever filed, however, and the man has no criminal record. Still, the discredited allegations cost him a chance at new employment.The problem at the root of this and other stories is that "non-conviction" records are often released by the RCMP for employment background checks. In this case, the man had applied for a job with a transit company, and despite positive references from former employers, his application was rejected after the employer learned of the unproven allegations.Additionally, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star, the foster daughter who made the allegations has accused other men of sex crimes. One of those men is another foster father who was eventually found not guilty of sexual assault.Border officials in the United States also have access to the non-conviction records of Canadians, who could be denied travel and employment in the U.S. on the basis of those records. Lawmakers in Ontario plan to address this problem in the new year, but exactly what will be done remains to be seen.In any case, individuals accused of sex-related offences need to be aware of their defence options early in the legal process to protect against long-term consequences.