Denial runs deep

I’ve often asked, is it a deniar or a liar? Allegations of abuse are often met with disbelief. Sites claiming “false allegations” imprison innocent men run into the hundreds of thousands (google ‘false allegations’ to see for yourself). We use “alleged” rapist or murderer and offer potential perps more rights than victims, who have had their identities revealed in print and who have been bashed for reporting abuse (think of any woman who has ever accused a professional athlete). On the other hand, denial runs deep among the accused, yet we never hear about this phenomenom.

Here’s an article about a man jailed for molesting an 8th grader and then goes on to sue the victim for defamation charges:

Defamation conspiracy leads to judgment against molestation victim 

In 1999, Cutlip was an eighth-grader in Ashland, Ohio, and Copeland-Jackson, then 26, was one of his tutors. Copeland-Jackson molested Cutlip while helping the 14-year-old on a school project. He was convicted of two counts of gross sexual imposition of Cutlip and another boy and sentenced to three years in state prison, court records show.

While in an Ohio prison, he befriended Brandel, a paralegal who had learned about the case and believed that Copeland-Jackson had been wrongly accused, federal prosecutors said.

Copeland-Jackson was released from prison in late 2003. He changed his name legally to Xavier Justice in 2004, but he used both identities interchangeably and filed the federal suit under his original name, prosecutors said.


Copeland-Jackson then filed court papers in which Brandel swore that Cutlip had told him he was “sorry for lying” about the sex abuse accusations. Over the next few months, Copeland-Jackson even filed court papers on behalf of Cutlip — forging his signature on the documents — saying the allegations had been false and he didn’t wish to contest the defamation suit, federal prosecutors allege.

He moved to the District to live with his mother, and in 2006 he contacted Brandel and they started work on a scheme that they hoped would “coerce or fool” Cutlip into recanting his accusations, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mitzelfeld wrote in court papers.

“I did not have any kind of sexual contact with David Copeland-Jackson,” Cutlip supposedly wrote in one document. “I willfully lied.”

In June, Copeland-Jackson filed his $3 million defamation of character lawsuit against Cutlip before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle. He alleged that he was defamed by “false comments to third parties that [he] engaged in certain homosexual activities with” him.

Copeland-Jackson, who represented himself, soon filed court papers falsely claiming that the suit had been served on Cutlip, and Brandel signed an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he had handed the papers to Cutlip.

In the 1980s there was “false memory syndrome,” which claimed the victims had a false memory that they strongly believed in. Today there’s false allegations and the media pay more attention to these stories than to unreported or underreported cases of abuse (like rape) or to understanding why we fail to detect or to believe cases of abuse. Consider the study done by Stanton (1997). Stanton looked at 4 popular press magazines and found that in 1991 more than 80% were weighted towards survivors, but in 1994 more than 80% were focused on false allegations (see: Bias in psychiatric diagnosis). I’d be interested in seeing a study that compared men making false allegations to women making them. Bala & Schuman, for example, found that more men make false allegations in family court than women, but we never hear about it:

This indicates that the problem of deliberate fabrication by noncustodial parents (largely fathers)

is more prevalent than deliberate fabrications of abuse by custodial parents (largely mothers) and their