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What Must Prosecutors Prove in a Child Molestation Case?

  • Published: July 12, 2020

Sometimes these cases can get complicated and murky, but obviously, common sense approach usually prevails and what the prosecutors have to prove is, number one, that there is a child involved with some sort of a sex crime.

Also, that sex crime is being perpetrated against the child by the defendant, and the sex crimes for child molestation which I would consider kind of an umbrella/blanket term can include all sorts of things.  It could include touching. California Penal Code 647.6 defines the crime of child molestation.

Touching a child in their genital areas with the intent to arouse yourself, arouse a child would cover child molestation.  Obviously, having sex with a child, oral copulation with a child — that would be under the umbrella of child molestation.  See CALCRIM 1122 annoying or molesting a child.

Sexual Acts Against a Child

Do you really have the general umbrella of child molestation and then you have specific crime that can also be attached to it.  What I see a lot is that in child molestation cases in Los Angeles, prosecutors are charging all sorts of different charges just depending on what happened in the case.

So, you need a child.  You need a defendant that’s committing some sort of a sexual act against the child and then you can charge that person with child molestation.

Of course, it’s usually not as simple as that.  Sometimes defendants have defenses to these cases.  Sometimes maybe they touch a child inappropriately, but they don’t do it intentionally.

Maybe they’re giving them a bath or maybe they’re picking them up and there’s some circumstances to cause that child to talk to some school officials or somebody else about it and the person ends up getting charged with child molestation.

Sometimes I’ve even seen scenarios where there’s a divorce going on or some sort of a dispute between parents and the next thing you know the father ends up getting charged with child molestation because the wife helps to manufacture charges against that defendant.

Defending Against Child Molestation Allegations

So, these child molestation charges can manifest themselves in a bunch of different ways.  What I do to try to figure out how we’re going to best handle it, I’ve obviously got to talk to the defendant and a lot of times these defendants are in jail with huge bails and their poor family members are trying to look for an attorney to help them.

So, obviously I talk to the family and find out what’s going on and then if I get retained on a case, I’ll talk to the defendant and find out exactly what happened — why they got charged and kind of present to them what the police, the prosecutors and even the alleged victim — are claiming they did wrong and then try to get some feedback from them and see what they have to say about it.

Then we try to put ourselves in the best possible position to be able to help the defendant.  We don’t want to be in the position where we can’t help the defendant or we’re kind of in a position where we’re barking up the wrong tree and we really don’t understand what our defense is going to be.

From the beginning, in a child molestation case, we have to establish what the defense is going to be.

The word defense can take many different meanings as it relates to a sex crime in Los Angeles.  On the one hand it could take the classic meaning, where the person says, I’m not guilty.

I did nothing wrong, and I want to fight this case all the way to a jury trial, or I want to show the prosecutors that I’m innocent.  That’s one way a defense can certainly manifest itself.

Mitigation Package to Seek Lesser Charge

Another way a defense can manifest itself though is just the opposite — where the person says, I realize I did something wrong.  I’m guilty.  Obviously, I don’t want to go to prison for a long time and I don’t want some of these horrible ramifications that can come from a child molestation case, and we try to figure out what we can do to mitigate things.

What can we do to put that particular person in the best possible position based on the circumstances we face.  Then we sit down.  We get a mitigation package together.

I speak to the prosecutors and try to see where they’re at.  Sometimes we’ll even get a psyche involved — a doctor to evaluate the person to give some recommendations as to number one.

What the punishment should be from their perspective; and two, what sort of steps could be taken with this particular defendant so that we can ensure they won’t be involved in this type of behavior in the future.

Those are some things that the prosecutors will listen to.  Those are some things the prosecutors will look and assess in deciding what type of punishment a particular person should get.  Obviously ,they’re going to listen to what an expert has to say.

They may not completely agree with the expert or the defense attorney’s proposed resolution, but they’ll at least take it into consideration and a lot of times you can find some sort of meeting in the middle.  It depends on a lot of factors.

When it comes to a child molestation case, it depends on whether the person has any prior record for this type of behavior — how old the child was at the time of the behavior — the depth of what actually happened — what impact it had on the child and will have in the future.

Experienced Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

These are all things the prosecutors and judge look at in these child molestation cases.  So, obviously, we as a defense need to look at these things as well, so that we can make sure that whatever we’re doing, whatever moves we’re making are the right moves for this particular client and to make sure we do everything we can to protect them.

So, if you or a loved one is being charged or even investigated for child molestation, you should get somebody right away.  You’ve come to the right place.  I’ve been doing this for 26 years.  I have a lot of success and defended a lot of clients to a successful outcome.

Pick up the phone.  Make the call now.  Ask to speak to Ron Hedding and we’ll get the case moving in the right direction.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our firm for a free case consultation at (213) 542-0979.

Ron Hedding

Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the
Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers
Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.

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