Being accused of a sex crime involving a child is something that no one should take lightly. In general, the public casts harsh judgement on those simply accused of such crimes. For this reason, prosecutors are under immense pressure to obtain convictions in child sexual abuse cases. When facing such charges, however, it is important to remember that, in this country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Recently, police arrested a 51-year-old Orlando man for the sexual abuse of multiple children. Police say that at least three children described experiences with the man in which he touched them, or attempted to touch them, in an inappropriate way.
The man was held in the Orange County Jail over the weekend. He has been charged with attempted sexual battery, sexual battery, lewd conduct and false imprisonment of a child.
These are all very serious accusations. Being convicted of these charges could not only mean jail time, but it can also lead to a loss of general livelihood. A sex crime conviction can require a person to register as a sex offender, which may affect his or her employment opportunities and family and social life.
Just because the penalties for a child sexual abuse conviction are harsh, however, does not mean that it is impossible to build a defense against them. The fact of the matter is that prosecutors need evidence to prove that a person committed a crime. If they don't have that evidence, or if their evidence is weak, it presents an opportunity for a defendant to argue his or her innocence.
On the other hand, if a prosecutor does have compelling evidence, a plea bargain can also be a strong defense strategy. Sometimes when a defendant agrees to plead guilty to charges, prosecutors will offer a more lenient sentence in return.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "OPD: Man threatened to kill girl if she reported sexual abuse," Amy Pavuk, Feb. 10, 2014