Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Criminal Law | 0 comments

Child molesters are perhaps one of the most reviled groups of people, and this is a sentiment shared by people of all persuasions, perhaps understandably. According to an article on Horst Law’s website, even the mere allegation of improper contact with a child is enough to ruin a person’s name and reputation, never mind that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The fact is, most people are paranoid about protecting children from harm, and will regard any person accused of such a crime with deep suspicion.

It is therefore no laughing matter to be accused of child molestation. A man in California suspected of molesting a 4-year-old child was shot dead by the fiancé of the child’s mother, and both the mother and fiancé are now facing murder charges. It turns out that the child had not been molested after all.

This kind of vigilante behavior is a reaction to incidents which brought about laws targeting child molesters such as Megan’s Law, named after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka who was the raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender. This law requires all convicted sexual offenders, including child molesters, to be included in a national registry. The information contained therein, which includes the name and address of the offender and updated regularly, is made available to the public so that people can find out if one is living in their neighborhood.

Inclusion in this registry effectively opens up an individual to public vilification and harassment, or worse. It is crucial that an individual falsely accused of child molestation retains effective legal representation to avoid a conviction. It is not unknown for a child to make accusations against a strict teacher, for example, or any adult against whom the child has a grudge. While it would be wrong to discount the testimony of a child, such a serious charge needs to be thoroughly investigated to confirm the facts. A good defense lawyer would make sure that all the relevant facts of the case are brought to light and contextualized to protect the rights of the client.

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