Any allegation of domestic violence or abuse is a very serious matter. When a person has been victimized or feels threatened, he or she must take action to ensure his or her safety. Reporting incidents or threats of domestic abuse is also very important so that law enforcement and the justice system can directly address the problem. The systems in place to assist victims and would-be victims of domestic violence are designed to make seeking help as easy and efficient as possible. Unfortunately, however, unscrupulous individuals will sometimes attempt to use such resources and programs to cause problems for former spouses or partners by making false claims of domestic abuse. Fraudulently filing a claim of abuse can have severe consequences, as a woman in California recently discovered.
False Facebook Stalking Claims
During the fall of 2015, a 25-year-old woman in Lake Forest, California filed several reports with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department claiming that her ex-boyfriend had stalked and threatened her on Facebook, in violation of an existing restraining order. As a result, the man was arrested on four separate occasions in a four-month period. The woman testified at a preliminary hearing that she was the victim of cyberstalking and threats by her former romantic partner.
As the Sheriff’s Department began looking deeper into her claims and testimony, they discovered that woman had created a fake Facebook account pretending to be her ex-boyfriend and sent herself the threatening messages. Law enforcement officials indicated that she had used the fake account as recently as two days before the hearing at which she offered testimony against her ex-boyfriend. The charges against the man were dropped, and the woman was charged with two felonies, one for false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud or deceit and one for perjury. Last week, she was sentenced to one year in jail for her actions.
False Claims in Illinois
Stalking and harassment—even online—by a former romantic partner are considered forms of domestic abuse in Illinois, and filing false claims of such behavior can lead to a variety of consequences. For example, filing a police report that is known to be false can result in felony charges. Likewise, perjury is also commonly charged as a felony in Illinois.
When false domestic violence claims are filed during a divorce or child-related legal proceeding, they can greatly affect the outcome of the case. A spouse or parent who makes knowingly false claims may be subject to court sanctions, and his or her parental rights could be limited by the court as a result.
Let Us Help
Domestic violence already affects far too many families in this country, and false claims waste valuable time and resources that law enforcement could be using to protect victims who are actually in danger. If false claims of domestic violence are threatening the outcome of your divorce or parental responsibilities proceedings, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney right away. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.