Allegations of sexual abuse or molestation should be taken very seriously by anyone facing charges. These cases are often very sensitive and can involve some uncomfortable or unflattering accounts, which is why they are generally handled by experienced attorneys. People who are accused of sex crimes in Florida should remember that although defending against these claims can be difficult, it can be crucial in order to avoid the harsh sentences that can be handed down in these cases.
One man in another state recently found himself in this situation after he was charged with sodomy and child molestation. After a trial, a jury determined that he should be freed from the criminal charges based on information presented during the trial.
Reports indicate that the man was initially arrested and charged after he entered a hotel room after a long night of drinking. He believed the room was his and got into bed. However, he was in the wrong room. And although he believed he was getting into bed with a woman who knew his friends, the person in the bed was actually a 9-year-old girl.
During the trial, the man's attorney was able to show the jury how impaired and confused the man was during police investigation. There was also testimony that suggested the man's blood alcohol level was likely higher than 0.23 at the time he entered the hotel room. Six hours after he was arrested, he could have still been too drunk to drive.
The defense also challenged the police report, which apparently indicated that the man admitted to misconduct. On the stand, however, the detective involved in the case conceded that while the man may never have actually admitted to anything, "He didn't say he didn't," which was particularly damaging to the prosecution's case.
Also damaging was the fact that the little girl's account of the encounter changed over time, leading some to suspect that her parents or other parties may have influenced her.
Citing these factors, a jury acquitted the man on all charges. While this experience was likely traumatizing and upsetting for everyone, the man facing charges could have been sentenced to prison and identified as a sex offender if he had been convicted. However, with an effective defense, he was able to avoid these serious penalties and clear his name.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Jurors acquit man of molesting girl at Ritz-Carlton in Clayton," Jennifer S. Mann, April 29, 2014