A police and crime commissioner (PCC) has criticised his own force for accepting a defendant's self-description as a woman.
Thames Valley Police previously said Osareen Omoruyi, 51, of Witney in Oxfordshire, was a female and had been charged with sexual offences.
PCC Matthew Barber said the defendant was male and the police should "deal in facts" to maintain public confidence.
The force said it had acted in line with professional guidelines.
In a statement, it said: "The individual identified as a female and the officers treated them as such in accordance with College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice, which outlines that officers should treat the person according to their stated preference."
The Conservative commissioner, who oversees the force, said: "Thames Valley Police have, mistakenly in my view, relied on the 'self-described gender' in publishing a press release that incorrectly states that a woman has been charged with these offences.
"In a free society we are, and should be, able to live our lives at liberty to describe ourselves however we like - providing it doesn't affect other people.
"In cases of serious sexual offending when public protection is at stake the vast majority of people will rightly expect the criminal justice system to deal in facts and nothing more."
Thames Valley Police previously said the defendant, of Ducklington Lane, had been charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.