Can they arrest my brother on my sister’s word only?

Q: My brother had a warrant for questioning but when he got there they arrested him without any charges and no priors. Basically, my brother got taken in for questioning because my sister said when she was 4 (he was 9) that she was assaulted (she told her psychiatrist. My sister in is 16 now and he is 22. She has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, she said she wasn’t really sure it was him. The shrink told CYF and then CYF told the DA. The sex crimes detective wasn’t hearing that she wasn’t sure who it was and put out a warrant for our brother arrest. He has no priors, clean record and he is a college kid. When he turned himself in they lied and arrested him when he got there. My sister also thinks that it was our uncle that assaulted her (he assaulted me as well when I was 4 but now I’m 32). So, why did they arrest our brother without evidence? Why did the shrink say it was him when, until now, we weren’t sure? Is this legal? (White Oak, PA)

A: Unfortunately, your brother’s arrest is probably legal which doesn’t mean he is guilty or will be convicted ultimately. The police can use trickery and deception to entice people to come into the police station and arrest them. Plus, a person can be arrested solely on the word of another person, if the police believe, or at least say they believe the person. You really shouldn’t be talking about this on the internet, and your brother most definitely needs a lawyer, now. He and his lawyer need to keep track of your sister’s inconsistent statements in the early stages here before the police can clean them up or discard the one that does not match whichever suspect they choose to target. In fact, your sister may want to at least talk to a lawyer given her inconsistent statements. Lastly, your uncle should seek counsel, needless to say. This sort of thing happens more frequently than you think. I think given the passage of time, your brother’s age at the time and your sister’s inconsistent memory, this matter is defensible. In my opinion it really should be resolved outside of court.


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