Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Laws - Penal Code 288.5 PC
In Los Angeles, many people are charged with this particular offense. Continuous sexual abuse of a child is one of the more serious sex crimes in LA, or even in California. In order to be convicted of a charge like this, it has to be shown that you or the defendant in the case is, over a period of time, having some sort of sexual conduct with somebody under the age of eighteen.
Therefore, the prosecutors will have to show that this happened over a number of different days, not just a one-time occurrence.
Some of the evidence that the prosecutors can utilize in order to prove this crime would be DNA evidence or they get a DNA expert to try and find the defendant's DNA on the victim.
Another thing that I've seen them do is they will use a SART exam which basically is an exam by a nurse at a hospital in order to attempt to show some sort of sexual abuse.
This usually comes in the form of some sort of injuries consistent with an individual being sexually abused over a period of time.
These two areas – the DNA and the SART Exam – are areas that the defense can hire an expert in order to challenge the prosecution's evidence and show either that there is no DNA or the DNA that is found doesn't necessarily mean that there has been some sexual abuse, and then also having an expert who understands what should or would be present if somebody was sexually abused is obviously a significant factor in the jury's determination if the case goes to trial as to whether somebody has committed this particular crime.
Penalties for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
The thing that makes this charge so serious is that if someone is convicted of this type of offense, they could be looking at fifteen years to life, which basically means they'd have to serve 85% of fifteen years before they would be eligible to get paroled, which means they can never get out if the Parole Board felt they were too dangerous to be put back into society.
So, with this type of fire power, the prosecution really has a lot of bargaining strength when it comes to negotiating these types of sex crime offenses, because if the person doesn't work out a resolution with them, then they can try to seek the fifteen to life penalty against that person.
Also, if you're convicted of 288.5 of the Penal Code, this is a strike. It will be on your record for life in California.
You'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life and there's a number of other conditions that can be placed on you by the judge and the prosecutor in this type of offense
So, the bottom line is the penalties for continuous sexual abuse of a minor or child are some of the most severe penalties in sex crime related offenses.
What can you do to help yourself if you are Charged with PC 288.5?
The first thing you want to do is get together all of the facts and circumstances that occurred that you know of.
Get together a list of questions that you want to ask your criminal defense attorney Once you sit down with your criminal defense attorney, obviously you want to try to get some peace of mind and get some control back of the situation by asking questions, giving details and hopefully getting some of the answers that you need.
When I meet with people who are charged with this sort of offense, obviously I encourage them to be honest with me, let me know what actually happened and give me all the details.
So, that we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of whether you're going to try to fight the case in a jury trial or whether the best resolution is to negotiate with the prosecutor and judge and try to do some damage control and get a result that keeps you out of custody and avoid some of the more harsh penalties that come along with a continuous sexual abuse of a minor case.