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Possible Defenses Against a Molestation Charge

Five Ways to Defeat a Molestation Charge

Few criminal accusations are more aggressively prosecuted than child molestation. The charges are easy to levy, and very difficult to defend, since they can be based on a single emotional complaint about a single incident which the accused may or may not even know about. The complaints can often be filed through reports by untrained staff at school, or through agencies such as the Child Protective Services. A conviction can bring prison sentences up to 10 years, and restitution and fines totaling more than $10,000. A conviction will also require you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

Because of the devastating consequences, if you find yourself charged with child molestation, do NOT voluntarily speak with law enforcement, witnesses or anybody else associated with the case without your attorney present. Your first step is to retain an experienced defense attorney. An attorney with experience will be able to present a vigorous defense against the charges. Your freedom, your job, your marriage and your entire way of life may be at great risk. 

What is Molestation?

Child molestation charges can be brought if a person, “willfully commits any lewd and lascivious act against a minor under the age of 14, and commits the act with the purpose of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the perpetrator or the victim.”

The accuser and the prosecution bear the burden to prove all charges are true in order to gain a conviction. This is a high standard and rightfully so, given the consequences of a conviction. The prosecution will not work to protect the rights of the accused. However, experienced defense attorneys will be aware of many ways the case might be defended.

Possible Defenses to These Charges?

There are a multitude of strategies to challenge accusations of child molestation. Each case will have many factors from which your attorney will devise the best steps forward in presenting your defense. Five common defense strategies include:

  1. It might be possible to show any contact was accidental.
    Many everyday situations bring people into physical contact with each other. An adult who is coaching a youth in a sports activity is one example where physical contact is sometimes unavoidable. Even accidental contact might be misconstrued as sexual in nature, in some cases.
  1. It might be possible to show any contact was without any sexual intent. As with the coaching example above, imagine a piano or guitar teacher or other normal activity in which an adult touches the hands of, or reaches around a child. The child, (or an observing mistrusting parent) might mistakenly take perfectly normal and appropriate contact as having intent.
  1. There may be direct evidence to prove your innocence. Assessing the credibility of the accuser does not mean attacking a child on the stand - the child may have false memories from other tragic events, or may have been convinced of the intent of the accused by a friend, a parent, school official, law enforcement personnel, or others.
  1. There are procedural steps the prosecution must follow with fidelity in order to bring a credible case against the accused. There are a few key points within these procedures which can be reviewed for truth and procedural correctness. One such procedure is the “forensic interview” (an interview by a person trained to take testimony from a child making an accusation, usually a Child Protective Services agent or a social worker). This interview is often the bedrock of the case. Transcripts can be reviewed to make sure the child was led to submit accusations which can be shown to be less than reliable. 
  1. Even with a case which can be very difficult to directly prove innocence, there are tools available which might bring the best available resolution. Expert witnesses can bring perspective to the case which might help to convince the jury. Probationary therapy can be a tool offered, to help avoid sex offender registration and to lessen fines/sentences. Even the selection of the jury can help ensure fair and impartial consideration of the case.

In all the examples above, an experienced and determined attorney will be the accused’s best bet to avoid jail or prison, or exorbitant fines and other costs. Reach out to us at the H Law Group where an experienced attorney awaits your call.

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