Defending Sex Crime Charges in DC

The following is excerpted from an interview with DC sex crimes lawyer Jason Kalafat, where he answers questions about building a defense in sex crimes cases.

What are the first things that you look at in a sex offense case?

Jason Kalafat: Whenever a client comes to me because they have either been notified that they are being investigated for a sexual offense or they have already been charged with a sexual offense, I try to find out as quickly as possible what the relationship is, if there is any, between the alleged victim and my client. I look at the circumstances under which they had any kind of contact and whether there are any witnesses to any kind of contact that they may have had. If they have a relationship, I want to know how long the relationship has been going on, what the nature of the relationship is, and what witnesses could substantiate the circumstances of the relationship. If there is no relationship, I want to find out all of the details surrounding the alleged event, including what time it was, what the location was, whether there was any kind of disagreement, and what possible reasons the alleged victim might have to make these accusations. If my client did not commit the act that has been alleged, which is often the case, I want to find out what the motivation or the misunderstanding was for the alleged victim to be making the accusations. I want to know immediately whether or not my client has made any kind of statements to law enforcement or to anyone else, including sitting down with a detective, having a phone call with a law enforcement officer, the victim, family members, any friends, or making any other kind of statements including text messages and posts on social media. I need to know about anything that is related in any way to the alleged victim or the alleged event so that I can investigate and make sure that I have a complete knowledge of everything having to do with these individuals.

How do you build a defense to sex offense cases?

Jason Kalafat: Based on my years of experience handling sex offense cases, I know that many times defendants are wrongly accused of having committed a sex offense. A sex offense is a very serious offense with major negative consequences to the defendant but there are circumstances in which the alleged victim has motivation to fabricate or exaggerate the allegations against the defendant. There are situations in which the alleged victim simply does not know who actually assaulted them or had sexual contact with them, so they make a mistake or an assumption and point the finger at the defendant. There are situations in which there was no sexual offense committed but for various reasons, the alleged victim has now made this inaccurate accusation against the defendant. In every case, I try to find out what the relationship is, if any, between my client and the alleged victim and look into why the alleged victim would make this accusation. I look at the circumstances of the event and whether there are any witnesses who could rebut the accusations against my client. I also find out as much as possible about the evidence that the government intends to bring, especially DNA evidence. I find out whether or not a rape kit examination took place, meaning when a sexual assault nurse examines an alleged victim at the hospital following an alleged assault. I try to get all the details of that examination. I find out everything I can about the alleged victim, about my client, and about any witnesses that may be involved. I find out what evidence the government intends to bring and how we can show that that evidence is not conclusive that my client has committed the offense.

[Back to Sex Crimes Page]