Have A Lawyer Before Speaking To Police
Next to serious violent crimes, child sexual assault or other sex crimes can carry the greatest risk of state or federal prison sentences, as well as registration as a sex offender for life, even for first-time offenders. Child sexual abuse also carries the greatest risk of false accusations that result in criminal prosecutions.
Contact Dallas defense lawyer J. Michael Price II for guidance through the process and to secure representation by a zealous advocate.
What To Know About Child Sex Abuse
According to the latest report of the Collin County Criminal Justice Plan, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County referred a total of 543 cases of child sexual assault between 2005 and 2007 to the Collin County DA Crimes Against Children Unit for prosecution. Of these, 125 were no-billed by the grand jury. Of the total case dispositions for Collin County during these three years, 254 cases ended up with guilty verdicts and 104 cases were dismissed, ended in a not-guilty verdict or declared a mistrial. (See page 9, Collin County Criminal Justice Plan).
As these numbers demonstrate, approximately 25% to 35% of allegations of child sexual assault get dismissed at either the grand jury stage or trial stage. In each of these cases, an individual had to endure the embarrassment and humiliation of being investigated, charged, arrested and prosecuted for serious offenses.
Child Witnesses: Not Always Accurate
Young children very often live in a world of mixed reality and fantasy. Whenever parents, siblings, relatives or adult caretakers are accused of sexually molesting a young child, an assortment of child abuse experts, police detectives, county social workers, pediatric doctors and nurses swoop in and basically take over and can unintentionally mold the conscious mind of the allegedly abused child.
First, the child is subjected to a frightening and confusing physical examination by doctors and nurses from the sex assault division of the local county or police jurisdiction. Often a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) examination is performed on the child victim at a local hospital. This comprehensive examination of the child – including the pubic region – is documented to gather evidence and determine if a sexual assault has occurred.
Suggestive questioning often begins here, when doctors and nurses ask the child if the suspected abuser has used fingers, tongue or penis to violate the child’s physical integrity. Programming the child begins here.
Interviews Can Perpetuate False Memories And Allegations
Next, social workers from Child Protective Services (CPS) march the child into make-believe playrooms and ask the child questions using anatomically correct doll figures.
No greater danger of false allegations of child sexual abuse exists than when social workers ask questions that direct the child to give the desired answer, using the naked doll figures to drive home the specific abuse. I have reviewed many of these “interrogations” of children. They are often ripe with problems and inaccurate interview techniques.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County performed over 2,100 of these forensic interviews from 2005 to 2007. These are all situations where there is a reason to believe that sexual abuse or an injury to a child has occurred. (See page 11, Collin County Criminal Justice Plan). I use former child advocacy employees and interviewers to review these interviews for problems and mistakes to further help in the defense of these types of charges.
A young child already softened by hysterical parents, uniformed officers, doctors and nurses, readily picks up what the social workers want him or her to say. Pretty soon, you have social study and police reports with graphic depictions of sexual abuse acts literally conjured up during this programming play period with the child. Considering that Collin County’s local child advocacy center reports that 93% of child abuse offenses are committed by family members, these charges are devastating to families and can tear them apart.
Is Your Life Thrown Into Upheaval?
Next, the suspected abuser is arrested and generally must pay a huge amount of bail to get out of jail, only to face serious child sex abuse charges in Dallas, Collin or Denton County Criminal District Court, which could send him or her to prison for many years.
Sometimes, the detective assigned to the case will attempt to interview the defendant prior to being arrested or after the arrest has already been made. Many times, they will offer to let you “tell your side of the story” or they suggest, “this is your last chance to help yourself.” All of these interview techniques are designed for one thing and one thing only: to get you to confess to the allegations against you. Never speak to a detective or investigator in one of these situations without an attorney.
Beware Inaccurate Polygraph Examinations
In some situations, law enforcement will offer you a polygraph examination – or lie detector test – to “prove your innocence.” Never submit to a polygraph examination by law enforcement. While the results of these examinations cannot be used against you in court, if you happen to take and fail one, due to any number of reasons, this will carry great weight with the detectives and prosecutors assigned to your case.
Often, a suspect will be told that he or she failed when, in fact, the results were inconclusive, and this lie leads the suspect to give a full confession. At the law office of J. Michael Price II, we employ the services of one of the most well-respected polygraph firms in the nation to confidentially prove that these allegations are false. Only in the course of an attorney-client relationship can you be assured that the results of, and any information learned from, a polygraph will remain confidential. Mike has used polygraph examinations that his clients passed in these situations many times to obtain no-bills by the grand jury.
What should you do when faced with a machine designed to warehouse you in prison for the rest of your life? You must select a very experienced Dallas sex crime defense lawyer who will be involved in all stages of the interrogation process, will hire child psychologist experts to review videotaped interrogations of the child and then interview the child, if possible, to determine how badly the child has been brainwashed.
Defense By A Skilled And Experienced Advocate
J. Michael Price II will hire a doctor or nurse specially trained in child abuse to review the SANE examination findings and, finally, an experienced professional investigator will interview all the adults involved in the initial reporting of the abuse, including siblings, former spouses or girlfriends, neighbors, friends, teachers, family doctors and nurses to find any strong and knowledgeable witnesses who could testify on your behalf and greatly weaken the prosecution’s case.
Secure representation before you submit yourself to a police interview, an interrogation and polygraph examinations. If you are accused of a child sex crime in Dallas, Denton or Collin counties, you cannot afford to delay your defense. Contact me now or call 214-765-8000 for a free consultation on how to prepare a successful defense to these charges.