The Fear of False Allegations, with Tayler Jones-Cieminski

Season 4Episode 8May 12, 2022

How does the fear of false allegations affect criminal cases alleging child sexual abuse, and what role does gender play?

If you’ve ever worked anywhere near the criminal justice system, you know how heartbreaking it is when a case goes to trial and you have a clear disclosure and great victim testimony and really solid corroborating evidence—and the jury acquits. In a child sexual abuse case, what would make a jury hear all of that and still acquit? Tayler Jones-Cieminski and other researchers set out to explore that very question, especially one specific aspect of juror beliefs: the myth about the prevalence of false allegations. What would happen at trial if there were an increased fear of false allegations? And does gender have anything to do with it?

Topics in this episode:

  • Origin story (3:05)
  • Disparity between evidence and verdict (7:17)
  • Fear of false allegations (11:49)
  • Implications for criminal justice system (24:32)
  • Role for juror education, public education (28:33)
  • Advice for child abuse professionals (31:30)
  • Future research (34:41)
  • Sharing the credit (38:40)
  • For more information (40:35)


Tayler Jones-Cieminski is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago

“Jurors’ Gender and Their Fear of False Child Sexual Abuse Accusations Are Related to Their Belief in Child Victims’ Allegations.” Tayler M. Jones, Bette L. Bottoms, Kajal Sachdev, Jonathan Aniciete, and Karis Gorak (2021): Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, DOI: 10.1080/10538712.2021.1931612

Bette Bottoms, Ph.D.

OJJDP, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Tamara Haegerich, Ph.D.

Kari Nysse-Carris, Ph.D.

How Accurate Is Our Memory After 20 Years?” is our interview with Gail Goodman

Thomas D. Lyon, Ph.D.

Michael E. Lamb, Ph.D.

Jonathan Golding, Ph.D.

Voir dire

“Child victim empathy mediates the influence of jurors’ sexual abuse experiences on child sexual abuse case judgments: Meta-analyses.” Tayler M. Jones; Bette L. Bottoms; and Margaret C. Stevenson. (2020). Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 26(3), 312–332. DOI: 10.1037/law0000231  Also available from the University of Evansville.

For more information about National Children’s Alliance and the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers, visit our website at And join us on Facebook at One in Ten podcast.


Transcript to come.