Shaffer & Engle Personal attention. Compassionate response. Fast Results.
Shaffer & Engle Personal attention. Compassionate response. Fast Results.

Our Tactic for Taking on the Child Sex Case

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It's important to properly and thoroughly investigate the matter before proceeding to court.

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By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Child Sex Abuse Defense Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

As we have detailed on our website regarding a child sex abuse allegation- the state needs a confession, corroborating physical evidence, or a consistent and credible victim/witness.  One or more of these key components is needed for any successful prosecution.  The crucial question for any jury is going to be- why would a child make this up if it weren't true?  Here's how we prepare to combat one or more of these components if they exist in a case:

Get a Good Background

According to most studies, sexual abuse allegations involving a child are levied against an adult that knows the child.  Therefore, understanding the family dynamic is crucial.  We need to understand as much about the background as possible; including, education, residences, employment, marital status, family historym (drugs, alcohol, abuse), kids, and how interactions have evolved over the years.

It's likewise important to understand how the disclosure from the child came about.  When did each person in the family become aware?  How did that occur?  What exact language was used to describe the incident?  If the case involves a young child, the nature of the language used may be critical to understanding how the child's perceptions may have been shaped.  Keep in mind that everyone from a children and youth caseworker to police to a children's resource caseworker is going to speak to the child and have them repeat the same events over and over again.  If the case involves a teen, was the disclosure made only after the parents found out that the teen had been sexually active with another, perhaps child the same age?

Learning Everything You Can About the Accuser

After looking at the disclosure itself, we need to specifically assess the accuser.  What are the child's grades, intelligence, psychological concerns, interests, activities, medical needs, close friends, and personality traits?  Major changes in life, such as the loss of a parent, job changes, relocations, divorces, and parental involvement with drugs or alcohol can all affect how a child acts or may be influenced.  It's important to get access to public records about the child.  Family court involvement, civil actions involving the family, and past history with CYS. School and medical records, if available.  Other places exist on the internet.  What has the child said on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Omegel, Kik, or Meetme.com?

The Location Where the Alleged Abuse Occurred

It's very important to go to the scene of the alleged abuse.  What were the conditions like in the home or location like when it allegedly happened?  Were others home?  Taking photos of the location with a sketch of the layout is always a good idea.  How the accused was dressed and how the victim was dressed at the time will undoubtedly become an issue that needs resolved.

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