Not everybody who is accused of child molestation is guilty. Just one reason for this is that the charges may be false. If you find yourself falsely accused, knowing what steps to take to defend yourself, and taking these steps in a timely manner is crucial. As the accused, you can be the target of a criminal investigation and criminal charges. This can be a terrifying, confusing, and profoundly personally damaging process. To assemble the best possible defense against these false charges and prove your innocence, it is imperative that you follow the steps outlined in this guide.
Some false accusations are intentional, some are more subtle and difficult to prove. Children can sometimes misconstrue the actions of another person as sexual in nature. Others, including friends of the accuser, or parents, teachers, law enforcement agents, and others can also misinterpret an event, or convince the child of some sexual motivation for the actions. This can be the case in highly emotionally charged living situations, such as with a stepparent, or in a divorce, or custody battle. Many other life situations can result in false charges being filed, intentionally or just through an error in understanding.
In order to maximize your chances of defending the charges, the first step will be to recognize you are in trouble - take the situation seriously.
As a close second, make sure you avoid making any statements to the alleged victim, or others. If you are questioned about any sexual wrongdoing involving a child by your employer, or human resources department, or law enforcement, do not respond before consulting an attorney experienced in sex crime defense. Even a denial of guilt can often provide information to investigators which could prove to be disastrous later.
Consult and retain a defense attorney as quickly as possible. The very moment you learn of the charges, find an experienced attorney and be transparent and truthful. Any conversations between you and your attorney are protected by law by “lawyer-client privilege,” and cannot be used against you in court. Your attorney should have an overall plan of attack and will work with you to adapt the particulars of your case to the experience he or she has garnered over the years.
It is up to the accuser and the prosecution to prove all charges against you are true, in order to gain a conviction. This is known as the burden of proof. This is a high standard and rightfully so, given the consequences of a conviction. No honorable judge or jury wants anybody to be convicted of false charges. Your attorney will know the ways in which the justice system can actually work to help protect your rights, such as his or her access to all evidence, and transcripts of all interviews, just to name a few.
Whether your false accusations stem from a confused child within some sort of family dysfunction, or whether the police were too eager to believe the child without properly investigating, your attorney can help. A careful gathering of facts and investigating all aspects of the case against you will allow your attorney to present a defense that gives you your best chance of being proven innocent
Children living in a dysfunctional family situation can make false accusations for many reasons, some of which include prior incidents of sex abuse elsewhere within the family, divorced parents bringing new adults into the home on dates, drug, and alcohol abuse within the home, difficult divorce or custody cases, or even being “coached” into false accusations due to leading questioning by school staff, family members, friends or law enforcement.
Police can also add to the problem, inadvertently or intentionally. Police will often be too eager to believe children because of a desire to be protective. In these cases, they can skip over glaring omissions or factual errors and may not fully test all accusations - their desire can sometimes be to VERIFY the accusations, not to challenge its accuracy.
Again, no matter the source of the false accusations against you, your attorney will have the experience and expertise to properly evaluate all aspects of the testimony and any investigations conducted. Any gaps, untruths, or misstatements of fact can then be proven and communicated as part of your defense. Your attorney will mount an exhaustive and aggressive defense on your behalf.