2007-04-20 / Editorial/Opinion

Punish The Tale-Tellers

In recent years, many high-profile cases have highlighted the fact that people have made false accusations about others, causing them long-term pain and even incarceration. One recent prime example is the Duke University lacrosse team fiasco that put the lives of three young men in jeopardy and could have put them in prison for 30 years even though they were innocent of all wrongdoing. This was a case where a woman told an out and out lie about the three young men and her tale was bought by the media looking for a good story and the district attorney looking to get re-elected. In a recent case, a Brooklyn school janitor was falsely accused of molesting a young student. He could have lost everything, his job, his freedom and his family because the young girl told a complete lie. Teachers and police officers face this problem each day. In each case, there was a rush to judgement that the accussed were guilty and that the "victim" must be telling the truth. Anybody who remembers the Tawana Brawley fiasco and the "Rockaway Five" accustations, both fueled by the racist rhetoric of Al Sharpton, will understand that victims who tell tall tales are nothing new. There is one common thread throughout all those stories, however, and that is the fact that none of the liars are ever criminally punished for telling their lies and for destroying innocent lives. Therein lies the rub. We believe that those who tell out and out lies to law enforcement officials in order to punish another person should by punished, perhaps facing a jail sentence. If the woman who charged the Duke Three with rape faced prison time for her lies, perhaps the lies would end. Those who knowingly tell lies should face the sanction of the law.

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