Claims of sexual assault and abuse are among the most troubling and devastating claims of which a person can be accused, especially if the alleged victim is or was a child at the time. People who are charged with these types of sex crimes are aggressively pursued by authorities and publicly condemned by members of a community. Those who are ultimately convicted can face brutal conditions and threats to their physical safety if they are sentenced to prison.

That is the situation one man says he has experienced since he was accused of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter about 10 years ago. According to reports, the girl initially recounted her experiences in a college application essay.

The stepdaughter was not the one to file charges or make a complaint. In fact, it was only after her mother happened to read her essay that the police were contacted. In the essay, the girl says she was raped and molested numerous times by her stepfather in response to a question regarding difficult events that an applicant has had to overcome.

The 62-year-old man, who is also illiterate, has denied the allegations and it was argued that the girl fabricated the stories in the interest of having a strong essay, despite the consequences to her stepfather’s life and freedom. But what started as an essay has ended with a sentence. The man was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty.

No matter how allegations of sexual abuse or assault come to light, it is crucial for a person to take the charges very seriously. Even the suggestion of sexual abuse can be ruinous to a person’s life, and the penalties of a conviction can be devastating. Working with a criminal defense attorney can be a very important step in building a strong defense.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Rapist Outed In Daughter’s College Essay Gets 18 Years In Prison,” July 7, 2014