Accused of Child Abuse?
Child abuse encompasses acts ranging from negligence (such as leaving a child in a car unsupervised) [Penal Code Section 273(a)], actual physical abuse [Penal Code Section 273(d)], and sexual molestation [Penal Code Section 288].
Teachers and doctors are required to report cases that appear to indicate physical abuse to the police. This often creates a terrible and frightening situation for an innocent parent or caregiver. In many cases in which an individual is accused of causing physical harm to a child, the accusation is based on bruising that the child could have received by falling or playing. Nonetheless, once the charge or accusation of abuse has been brought, the accused parent is forced to defend his or her parenting. These cases can be particularly tragic. In the most extreme cases, a parent grieving the truly accidental death of a child may end up on trial for murder.
Just as common, and equal tragic, are false allegations of child molestation. There may be no charge that carry such a negative stigma as a child molestation. The stigma from even an accusation can ruin a person’s life, even if they are completely exonerated. Unfortunately, accusations of child molestation are often brought in the context of custody disputes. Since children rarely remember the events involved, allegations of child molestation often turn into a war between the parents. The losing parent can end up in prison.
If your partner, spouse, or another person is even hinting at making an allegation of child abuse or molestation, you need to contact our office immediately. Beginning an early investigation into the allegation is your best chance of controlling the situation. Attorney Joseph T. Rhea will meet with you personally to develop the best possible defense.