I once had an interesting case that I thought was worth sharing because it gives a good bit of insight into my job as a private investigator. A criminal defense lawyer hired me to help him with a sexual abuse case. These cases can be difficult because a woman may come forward with accusations, but finding evidence to put the defendant in jail for the crime is almost impossible.
No matter how many people believe that the assailant committed the sexual abuse, there’s a slim chance that the jury will find the defendant guilty based on one plaintiff’s story alone. When I was hired to investigate the matter, the case had gone cold. It had been over two years since any new information could be discovered and the man accused of the abuse had continued to roam the streets.
Lawyers take sexual abuse seriously because these types of criminals are likely to commit similar crimes again if they aren’t put behind bars. I think sexual abuse is a horrifying crime, so I wanted to solve this case more than ever. What I needed was solid evidence to secure a trial.
Hunting for Clues
The defendant was forty-five and worked at a library. It’s typical for sexual predators to work in places where they think their victims may frequent. The plaintiff was a seventeen-year-old girl, and she had mentioned that she met the man when checking out a book.
Because this man may have met other victims in the same fashion, I asked the library for a list of all the women between the ages of fifteen and eighteen who had checked out books within the last five years. I would reach out to some of these women and try to build a case.
After reaching out to about 100 women, there were some who had nothing to say and others who refused to talk to me. Six women, however, agreed to in-depth interviews in which they explained similar situations to our plaintiff. Six women is a significant number! At least seven women were in total were abused by this man and possibly more that I hadn’t discovered.
None of these women had been brave enough to come forward previously, but now, because they knew others had been abused, they felt safe in their collective confessions.
While most criminal cases need solid DNA evidence to put a defendant behind bars, a sexual abuse case can be won if the jury believes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Reasonable doubt becomes harder to find when there are seven victims as opposed to one.
Time and Dedication Paid Off
It took me a lot of time to go through the library’s records, seek out these 100 women, get rejected by most them, and then conduct in-depth interviews on the six that helped solve our case.
This is the work of a private investigator. I have to think through each case and find a route that will lead to conviction. It’s not always an easy job and sometimes my efforts don’t reap results, but when I get to see a predator taken off the streets because of my hard work, it all becomes worth it.