It’s a sign of the times, where a mere accusation can ruin a life, whether you’re innocent of not.
Parker Segal lived that personal nightmare.
He was a Governor’s scholar and had a full-ride to the University of Kentucky. But one night after an off-campus party, he was accused of rape. This accusation forever changed his life.
“Just the look in their eyes said I want you to die, I want you to suffer and no matter what I said, it didn't matter, “said Simon Parker Segal, who goes by the name Parker about sitting in the grand jury.
Just 18-years-old at the time, he was accused of Rape in January but all charges were dismissed by a Fayette County Grand Jury July 23rd.
“The grand jury heard everyone's story and decided that there was not enough likelihood of it being true to even go to trial,” explained Segal.
But Segal’s life had already been turned upside-down. He transferred schools, now a junior at Northern Kentucky University. He says he became less social, a self-described recluse. And now finds it hard to trust people.
He’s trying to put this in the past but the accusation still haunts him.
“I mean if you Google my name right now, you don't find out about the dismissal you find about the arrest,” said Segal.
Emily Skaggs, Psy. D., is a licensed clinical psychologist at Bluegrass Family Consultants, LLC. She says society wants instant gratification and with the Internet, information is available quickly and posts stay forever.
“People who don't know them, if they're just sitting down and they've Googled a name, when they see something like a rape charge it's going to make some people hesitant and they may not take the time to really thoroughly ask the question,” said Skaggs.
Skaggs sees how accusations of all sizes, everything from a rape charge to a rumor posted on Facebook, can ruin lives.
“Not everyone is reading through the news discriminating what they think is fact or fiction and especially once it sort of hits the Internet it's something that whether they fully believe it or not, it's something they remember,” said Skaggs.
Segal says all it took was the news story for people to believe he was guilty.
Segal knows he could have a hard time getting a job and the accusation isn’t something he likes to talk about but he isn’t afraid to talk about it.
“I'm trying to put it behind me and move on,” said Segal.