Grand Rapids Firefighter Cleared of Rape Charges

What if you were accused of a crime you did not commit?

The Grand Rapids, Michigan Firefighter of the Year in 2011, Lt. Lee Finlayson, was cleared on charges of rape earlier this year. He received the award due to his volunteer work during hurricane Katrina. He has served as a firefighter for 21 years, and the rape charges came as a shock to many in his community.

Today, we would like to take a look at the slippery slope of a false accusation of rape and what steps were taken in this case to have the charges dropped.

According to, 50-year-old Finlayson had been visiting a friend of 30 years in Brighton Township, Pennsylvania in September of 2012 when the alleged rape took place.

The, reported that the victim did have a relationship with Finlayson. When indicated that he wanted to have sex with her, she “turned him down and said she wasn’t ready and kneed him in the chest to keep him off of her.”

The article also reveals that there were email message and social media posts showing that Finlayson admitted to the rape.

The defense indicated that the alleged victim that made the accusations had actually hacked Finlayson’s social media and email accounts and that she was actually behind the messages.

Rape Charges Dropped

While all of the charges have been dropped against Finalyson, the accusation in itself may have left an undesirable mark on his life. The attorney in this case stated that “his client is relieved about the dropping of the charges, but that the accusations had “left an indelible mark on his reputation.”

So often when someone is accused or rape or criminal sexual conduct, the mere accusation causes assumed guilt. The battle to prove innocence is often a long, uphill battle. In this case, Finalyson was been proven innocent.

Being accused of a serious crime like rape can be devastating to an innocent person. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is imperative to fight for the accused rights.

What do you think?
Do you believe it is fair that when someone is accused of criminal sexual conduct they are often assumed guilty?