A child molestation accusation is obviously a devastating event. It immediately threatens a persons freedom, reputation, family and employment.
While we recognize that not everyone is able to hire a private attorney and may have to wait for a public defender, for those that are able, it is IMPERATIVE that you hire an attorney immediately upon becoming aware that an accusation of this type has been made to the authorities:
There is much that can be done to protect and prepare.
- Hiring an attorney will not make them think you are guilty. It is surprising how many times we get this question. First, it is expected that a person who has the means to do so will hire an attorney when accused of a sex crime. Second, it does not matter what investigators think, it matters what they can prove. If they believe they have the evidence, they will file a case.
- Present exculpatory evidence. If the accuser or their parent/guardian has motive to lie or history of false accusations and/or general untruthfulness, it is important to get that information to the decision makers before the decision to file has been made.
- Understand the tricks investigators use in these cases. "Pre-text calls" and "running ruses" (lying about evidence to extract confessions) are the most common tactics an accused needs to be watchful for.
- Arrange for self-surrender. If cases is filed, an attorney can arrange for a self-surrender rather being arrested at home or work which causes much embarrassment and severe custody inconvenience.
- Arrange for bail. With preparation, post-arrest custody can be reduced to a few hours rather than days or weeks.
Definition of Child Molestation
The term child molestation actually covers several different criminal code sections regardless of the jurisdictions.
California Penal Code Section 288
In California, it is Penal Code Section 288, lewd act with a child. Which most closely fits the general term "child molestation". Penal Code Section 288 covers any touching of a minor with the intent to sexually the defendant or the minor. the touching does not have to actually arouse anyone and, in fact, does not have to be "lewd" touching. There have been cases where even the touching if an arm can be considered a 288 where the circumstances show that it was done with sexual intent.
California Penal code Section 647.6
In a very confusing naming decision California's Penal Code Section 674.6 is titled "Molest and Annoy." It is a misdemeanor as a first offense though it has the same automatic sex registration requirement of other sex offenses. It covers things like sexual suggestive comments or other activity that is directed at the child. The intent requirement is different than 288's however in that it requires that the act be motivated by an abnormal or deviant sexual desire. It also requires that an average child would be "annoyed or offended" by the conduct. It does not require that the actual child involved actually be annoyed.