A 19-year-old man who is a resident of Winchester, Missouri, has been arrested and charged with engaging in a sexual assault. The purported victim of the alleged sex crimes is a 14-year-old female. The assault is claimed to have occurred sometime in May close to the girl's home. She is a resident of Manchester.

After being taken into custody by police, the male teenager was placed in jail. His bail has been established as $15,000 and so far has been unable to post it. He was an acquaintance of his alleged victim prior to the incident in question.

The girl discussed the incident with a counselor at her school, who reported the accusation to police. Police investigators claimed to have found DNA on the girl's clothing linked to the arrestee. They also speculated that he may have engaged in similar behavior with other girls in the area and are continuing their investigation.

Under the U.S. Constitution, every criminal defendant is entitled to be presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty in a legal proceeding after a fair trial. They are also entitled to a jury of their peers. To gain a conviction, the prosecution has the burden of proving them guilty by presenting proof of that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt using admissible evidence legally obtained.

A person accused of a crime has a right to present a defense, or present facts and circumstances mitigating an offense. During both interrogation by the police and at trial, however, they have a right to remain silent, and to decide not to take the stand to testify in their own defense, and no negative inference is allowed to be drawn from that silence or failure to testify.

All too often, many people have assumed that a criminal defendant is guilty because of an accusation in a media report, but many people are falsely accused, and, unfortunately, some innocent people have been wrongly convicted, even of very serious crimes. In some cases, the wrongly accused and convicted have been exonerated after the fact.

Source: Stltoday.com, "Winchester man charged with sexual assault," October 2, 2012.