New Orleans Child Molestation Defense Attorney
Generally, in Louisiana, molestation of a juvenile is the commission by anyone over the age 17 of any lewd or lascivious act upon the person or in the presence of any child under the age 17. There must be an age difference of greater than 2 years between the two persons. The law requires that the act be committed with the intention of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of either person, by the use of force, violence, duress, menace, psychological intimidation, threat of great bodily harm, or by the use of influence by virtue of a position of control or supervision over the juvenile. Molestation is a serious sex crime and a conviction can lead to lengthy prison terms as well as registration as a sex offender.
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 sexual abuse. Common symptoms include physical bruises, emotional outbursts, and personality changes in the child. A good sex crimes defense attorney knows that quite often these symptoms are indicative of an issue other than child molestation. 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.
Defending Child Molestation Charges in Louisiana
A potential defense for the crime of Molestation of a Juvenile in Louisiana is to show that the accused could not be guilty because he was not alone when the act allegedly occurred. A good criminal defense attorney also may try to show ulterior motives for false accusations. Of course, attacking the character of a child is a risky tactic; jurors may view it as overly aggressive. However, a skilled sex crimes attorney will question the complaining witness with the necessary skill and finesse to demonstrate that the child is perpetuating a lie that could easily ruin a client’s life.
Establishing an alternative perpetrator is another potential defense that is often employed in child molestation cases. 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.
Louisiana has different sentencing guidelines for the crime of molestation of a juvenile which are generally based on the victim’s age and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. When the victim is the age of 13 or older, the mandatory minimum sentence is 5 years imprisonment without benefits of probation, suspension of sentence or parole; the mandatory maximum can be up to 40 years depending on the details of the case. When the victim is under the age of 13, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years imprisonment without benefits of probation, suspension of sentence or parole; the mandatory maximum can be up to 99 years depending on the details of the case.
Lastly, the crime of Molestation of a Juvenile covers the molestation of mentally disabled individuals as well.
Contact: New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney
A conviction for molestation of a juvenile in Louisiana can have serious, lifelong consequences for you and your loved ones. Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter can assist you and your family during this stressful time. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.