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Stigma of accusation of sex crime can linger after acquittal

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Accusations of sexual abuse can be devastating to the person who faces them and building a defence against such charges can be an exhausting and scary. While there is undoubtedly a great relief when a defence against such charges is successful, the entire episode can leave someone reeling and life may never be the same. An Ontario man recently acquitted after being accused of child sexual abuse in another country is facing that reality now.

The 45-year-old man was teaching in an international school in Indonesia when he was accused of perpetrating the crime against kindergarteners. Though initially convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, that conviction was recently quashed and he was released. He and his wife plan to eventually return to Ontario.

When he does return, things may not go back to the way they were before the episode. Experts in the field of mental health and law indicate that the stigma surrounding such an accusation can be hard to avoid. This is particularly true when the alleged victims were children, as was the case here. This stigma can lead to people being suspicious of the acquitted individual, despite the court’s ultimate findings.

It is important that individuals who find they are in this situation take steps to keep this from affecting them too much. In some situations that could entail working with a good counsellor.

Just what life for this man will look like, remains to be seen. This situation is just one more reason why it is so important to promptly seek legal representation from a criminal defence lawyer when one is accused of a crime.

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