A sex crime accusation is one of the most serious charges a person can experience. While it can be extremely difficult to defend against a false accusation, it’s important to build a solid case to examine all of the evidence and possible holes in the story.

University of Minnesota law professor Francesco Parisi knows this firsthand. After years of battling rape accusations, state courts recently ruled the allegations were false, and Parisi won his defamation suit against his accuser in late May.

A case of revenge

Several years ago, the professor and a woman named Morgan Wright began a sexual relationship. When the relationship took a turn for the worst, Parisi found himself at the center of allegations that he raped her and tried to run her over with his car. He was imprisoned with a half a million dollar bail, but the county dropped criminal charges against him in 2017 when no evidence could be found of the alleged crime.

As investigations continued, it became clear that Wright had no corroborating evidence, not even medical records of severe injuries she said he caused her. In fact, it surfaced that she had made allegations of those same injuries against another lover years before. Parisi filed a defamation lawsuit in response.

Bouncing back from allegations is difficult

Parisi has told the media about the damage to his reputation the rape accusation has caused him. These sorts of false allegations can be extremely damaging to a person’s livelihood, which is why it’s critical to put as many facts on the table as possible early on.

The defamation case Parisi made against Wright was successful, but the trail of breadcrumbs leading to a fabrication isn’t always clear—or may not even exist.

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, it’s critical that you retain an experienced, qualified attorney as soon as possible. You’ll need robust defense and someone to make sure your rights are protected, both in and out of the courtroom.