Have you ever been the target of vicious lies, had your reputation ruined by false accusations or done something you wish you could take back? Learn what you can do when your reputation is under fire.
Smeared for Life?
"What if you were being falsely accused of something and it made national headlines like this?" Dr. Phil asks, showing a New York Post with the headline "Smeared for Life." "Keven Taveras and his family's lives were changed when a horrendous accusation was made against him and three other young men."
An 18-year-old female student at Hofstra University claimed she was raped by several men in a dormitory. Twenty-year-old Kevin was one of the men arrested and charged with five counts of first-degree rape.
"You see the mug shots, you see the accusations, and you immediately have an opinion about these young men," Dr. Phil says. Public opinion on the street included words like "animals," "death penalty," "disgusting," "monster," "sick," "child molester" and "scum of the earth." But what if it wasn't true? Kevin was facing 25 years in prison when the alleged victim, Danmell Ndonye, dropped a bombshell: She made it all up. The rape charges against the four men were dropped.
"Being called a rapist is one of the worst things you can be called in this world," Kevin says. "This incident will always haunt me for the rest of my life."
Before Kevin was cleared of the charges, he was terminated from his job and received a letter from Hofstra University telling him if he ever set foot on the college campus, it would be considered criminal trespassing.
Can you ever recover from the stigma left from these kinds of accusations? Kevin and his stepmother, Giselle, say they don't leave the house and now live with a lot of shame. They say they are scared to go out in public because of the stares and judgments, and Kevin just hides out in his bedroom.