Defenses to Molestation

There are some frequently overlooked defenses in child molestation cases. I'm going to touch on three of them for purposes of this discussion.

1) Lack of intent. The prosecution must prove that any touching was done with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify either the defendant or the alleged victim. If the defendant does not have a history of sexual offenses, it can be difficult for the prosecution to convince a jury of the required intent. The defense can argue that based on the defendant's history and character, they do not fit the profile of someone who would commit this type of crime most importantly, the defense would look to the nature of the conduct around the allegations to convince the jury that what the defendant was doing, was not for the purpose of arousal or gratification of anyone. Also, it is frequently successfully argued that the conduct was not in a setting that would effort to display genitalia or sexual material in a way that would sexually arouse her gratify anyone.

2) False accusations. It is common for child molestation cases to come down to conflicting testimonies between the defendant and the alleged victim. The defense can attempt to undermine the credibility of the alleged victim by researching their past behavior, social media posts, or any tendencies to lie or act out. Children may sometimes make false allegations as a means of retaliation against a teacher, step-parent, or other authority figure. There are common common reasons for these types of false allegations, ranging from leverage in custody battles to a child's loss of access to friends or family members that is perceived to be the fault of the defendant, whether or not that is true. It is a major mistake to assume that simply, asking the question "why would a child lie" is going to get to the truth of the matter. Rather, it is important to examine the entire context of the situation to determine it's true.

3) Accidental touching. The key element for a lewd act conviction under PC 288(a) is that the touching was "willful. If the defense can show that any physical contact was accidental or unintentional, they can argue that the "willful" requirement was not met, and the defendant lacked the requisite criminal intent. this issue becomes very, very important in inter family relationships, where an uncle or older sibling may be playing with a child and because a child lacks emotional sophistication, may believe that some inappropriate touching occurred or may just have a doubt and express it to another adult relative who may be primed to hear the worst about the suspect. Again, this is critical. There must be a full investigation of the family dynamics and a social history of everyone involved in order to establish true intent.

If someone someone you know is suspected of child molestation, please call William Weinberg, Irvine, Newport Beach, criminal defense attorney who focuses on these types of charges. He may be reached at (949) 474-8008.

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