Have you been accused of child molestation?
Molestation of a juvenile — sometimes termed “child sex abuse” or “child molestation” — is a legal and medical term that most often refers to sexual activity between an adult perpetrator and a youth victim that does not involve penetration. While different than rape, molestation is considered a serious felony and a conviction can lead to lengthy prison terms and longtime registration as a sex offender.
Perpetrators often use mental coercion or intimidation — rather than physical force — to achieve sexual gratification with a minor. Perpetrators usually occupy a position of trust over the victim and use grooming techniques to win over the child. Teacher-student and stepparent-stepchild relationships are common in cases of molestation of a juvenile.
Accusations of molestation are often the result of mandatory reporting laws. Professionals like teachers, social workers, clergy, or medical staff must report suspicions to law enforcement when a child displays symptoms suggesting abuse. Common symptoms include physical bruises, emotional outbursts, and personality changes.
Louisiana has different sentencing guidelines for molestation-of-a-juvenile convictions based on the victim’s age. The prison terms and fines are usually much harsher if the victim is less than 13 years old.
The nuances of the law are complex. If you are facing charges of a felony sex crime, you should seek the advice of someone like New Orleans criminal defense attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter. Ms. Carpenter practices throughout the communities in Southern Louisiana and will help you understand your rights and options under the law and develop the best strategy for your defense.
Our molestation defense foundation
False child molestation reports are common. Parental custody battles, family disputes, and a child’s emotional disorders often play into wrongful allegations of the crime.
A typical defense would be to show that the accused could not be guilty because they were not alone when the act allegedly occurred. A defense attorney also may try to show ulterior motives for false charges. It should be noted that attacking the character of a child is a risky tactic; jurors may view it as overly aggressive. But an aggressive defense may be what’s necessary when children are perpetuating a lie that can ruin their client’s life.
Establishing an alternative perpetrator is another potential defense. The trauma of child sexual abuse can cause the victim to develop inaccurate memories of the experience. Through expert witnesses such as a trained psychologist, a defense attorney might suggest an alternative abuser or establish enough doubt of the defendant’s guilt to win an acquittal in a jury trial.
Contact a New Orleans Criminal Defense attorney today
A conviction for child sex abuse can have serious, lifelong consequences for you and your loved ones. The law office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter can assist. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation by calling (504) 373-4624 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.