In this series we’re talking about a really difficult subject – child molestation. Don’t worry, we’re not discussing graphic details or anything of that nature. Put simply, we’re discussing how Michigan law defines child molestation, and the difficulties sometimes faced by defense attorneys in challenging these types of accusations in court.
As we discussed in the previous two segments, some people believe that molestation doesn’t include sexual penetration of the victim. This isn’t true. Molestation can refer to sexual penetration of the victim, or the more vague ‘sexual contact’ with the victim’s private parts, either undressed or fully clothed. As you can image, while the former is usually rather easy to prove in court, the latter scenario presents some difficulty when it comes to evidence.
When a person is raped they are sexually penetrated by their attacker. As a result, there is often a transfer of evidence from one body to another. Whether this means DNA collected from saliva or semen specimens, pubic hairs, or bodily injury sustained by the victim, there is something for police to point out in court to say that the victim was sexually assaulted. Sexual touching is different.
A child or young teen who claims to have been molested will usually report the incident to a parent, teacher or trusted confidant. From there, CPS and the police are usually notified and an investigation is opened regarding the allegations. If the child was raped, and the incident took place recently, authorities will attempt to collect evidence in the form of a ‘rape kit.‘
Sexual touching leaves no physical evidence, but victim statements count as evidence!
However, if the allegations involve sexual contact without penetration, there is little to no physical evidence available to back the claim, whether or not it actually happened. At that point, the entire investigation is usually based on one person’s testimony. And in Michigan law, ‘private parts’ can be something as seemingly harmless as the top of the thigh.
A prosecutor will not be able to provide evidence that the defendant put their hand on a young girl’s thigh, or touched a boy’s bottom in an inappropriate way. Neither of these actions leaves physical evidence. And unless there is a reliable witness, or a video recording of the event, they can only present the alleged victim’s claims. In many cases, however, those verbal claims are enough. Many people have been convicted based on nothing more than the say-so of an alleged victim.
In almost every other type of criminal case, the ‘he said/she said’ argument would get you laughed out of court. No one can be be convicted of murder or armed robbery on nothing but the claims of another person. But when it comes to sexual assault, that is sadly all it can take to turn a jury. Why? Because the alternative is considered to be so much worse! This can make defending against allegations of molestation very difficult!
Join us next time as we wrap up this subject. Until then, if you or a loved one have been falsely accused of molesting a child, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. This is no time for amateur hour! Your reputation, your job, your peace of mind, and even your freedom are on the line here! So call and talk to one of our skilled child abuse defense attorneys right now, and rest assured that your case will be handled only by the best!