The claim: Jacob Blake 'raped a little girl'
Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer sparked an array of shoddy online sleuthing.
The 29-year-old’s past contact with police has been a particularly common target, with many posts mischaracterizing Blake’s prior cases. A particularly resilient falsehood centers on a claim that Blake was accused or convicted of sexually assaulting a child.
They include a Sept. 1 Facebook post saying he’s a “pedophile” who “raped a little girl”; an Aug. 31 post saying he “raped a 15-year-old girl,” an Aug. 26 post saying he went to prison for “raping the 14 year old" and an Aug. 24 post saying Blake is a "Child (16 YO Girl) Rapist."
Blake’s criminal record isn't spotless.
But these claims are all wrong. Here's why.
Blake charged with sexually assaulting a woman
At the time of the Aug. 23 shooting, Blake had a warrant out for his arrest for a case filed in July in Kenosha County.
According to a criminal complaint, Blake allegedly entered the house of a woman he knew in the early hours of the morning, sexually assaulted her and then took a debit card and car keys before fleeing in her vehicle. Blake is charged in that pending case with felony third-degree sexual assault, and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The child sexual assault claim appears to have proliferated because people unfamiliar with Wisconsin criminal statutes are misunderstanding this case in online court records.
The online court record lists the offense as third-degree sexual assault, specifying the statute involved is 940.225(3)(a). That statute defines the crime as “sexual intercourse with a person without the consent of that person.” (The more severe first- and second-degree charges relating to adults are for sexual contact involving aggravating factors such as causing great bodily harm or threatening violence.)
Penalties and definitions of sexual assault of a child are detailed in a different Wisconsin statute (948.02), which includes first-and second-degree but not third-degree.
A fact-check on this topic by checkyourfact.com notes that one version of this claim on Facebook includes a screenshot of the Rhode Island statute for third-degree sexual assault, which relates to sexual contact with someone 14 or 15 years old.
The only other criminal charge we found in Blake’s past stemmed from a September 2015 confrontation at a Racine County bar. Blake was charged with resisting an officer and multiple gun-related charges after allegedly pulling a handgun in the bar, leaving and being arrested during a combative traffic stop, a criminal complaint said.
There were no sexual assault allegations tied to that case, which was dismissed in 2018 due to witness issues and the age of the then-3-year-old case, according to court records and officials.
We found no records indicating Blake has any prior felony convictions or spent any time in prison.
Our ruling: False
We rate this claim FALSE, based on our research. Blake has a charge pending for sexual assault, but it involves an adult woman, not a child.
Our fact-check sources:
Facebook post, Aug. 24
Facebook post, Aug. 26
Facebook post, Aug. 31
Facebook post, Sept. 1
Facebook post, Sept. 2
Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, Kenosha County Case 2020CF736, filed July 6
Criminal complaint, Racine County case 2015CF1391, filed Sept. 21, 2016
Criminal complaint, Racine County case 2016CF990, filed June 20, 2016
Criminal complaint, Kenosha County case 2020CF736, filed July 6
Wisconsin State Legislature, statute 940.225(3)(a)
Wisconsin State Legislature, statute 948.02
Rhode Island state statute, 11-37-6. Third degree sexual assault
Check Your Fact, Aug. 28, FACT CHECK: VIRAL IMAGE CLAIMS JACOB BLAKE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED A 14-YEAR-OLD
Associated Press, Aug. 31, Posts claiming Jacob Blake faces child rape charges are unfounded
Contact Eric Litke at (414) 225-5061 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ericlitke.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Jacob Blake sex assault charge tied to woman, not child