Posts claiming Jacob Blake faces child rape charges are unfounded
CLAIM: Jacob Blake, the Black man who police shot multiple times in Wisconsin on Sunday, was once charged for raping a teenage girl.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. No charges for sexual assault of a child have surfaced against Blake. Social media posts with these claims are shared without evidence. Blake was charged with third-degree sexual assault in Wisconsin in July for an incident that did not involve a minor.
THE FACTS: After police shot Blake several times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparking outrage and protests nationwide, some social media users sought to call Blake’s character into question with false claims about his criminal record.
Many of these posts suggested without evidence that Blake was a child rapist, pedophile or child abuser.
“Maybe the almost $1 million dollars in gofundme donations for Jacob Blake should be given to the 14 year old girl he raped instead,” read one tweet, which others shared on Facebook and Instagram.
“He had a warrant for raping a 15 yr old girl and y’all fools out here defending him and burning black owned businesses!!!” read another.
A third post viewed more than 86,000 times on Facebook used a meme from the television sitcom “The Office” to argue police wouldn’t have shot Blake if he “was still in prison for raping the 14 year old.”
Several posts also shared a graphic of a statute that appeared to define third-degree sexual assault as “sexual penetration with another person over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of consent, sixteen (16) years of age.
These posts are false. Blake was charged with third-degree sexual assault in Wisconsin, but it did not involve a minor, according to a criminal complaint published by the fact-checking website Snopes.
Online court records show that Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake with sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse on July 6. An arrest warrant was issued on July 7. The records do not list an attorney for Blake.
According to Snopes, the woman involved in that incident was Blake’s ex-girlfriend, with whom he shares three children.
The statute being shared on social media that defines third-degree sexual assault as sex with a minor is from Rhode Island law, not Wisconsin law.
In Wisconsin, where Blake was charged, the definition for third-degree sexual assault does not include sex with a minor.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536