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Child Victim Credibility and Sex Crimes

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Child victim credibility is difficult for the prosecution to establish at times, that is why the defense must be tactical and methodical in dealing with the child victim.

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

A child victim is often times less than 13 at the time the offense occurred.  Youth may provide the witness with enhanced credibility in the eyes of the jury.  Why would a child lie, many will ask?  But, the constant interaction of forensic examiners, police, child advocates, nurses, children and youth advocates, victim witness coordinators and prosecutors with the witness may provide the defense with valuable ammunition to combat the seemingly consistent victim's testimony.

A child is unlikely to recall specifics about an incident in the same way as an adult.  Further, they usually forget dates, times, or where they were precisely.  They are often times very unclear about what happened, but know that "something happened."  The role of the prosecution team is to assist the child in remembering details and helping them to understand that what occurred is wrong and they should discuss it with the adults in the room. 

A child may first report the incident to an adult with whom they feel closely.  A child will likely provide "their story" to a Children's Resource Center nurse or staff member.  It will be video and audio recorded.  They will give a statement to police, prosecutors and a victim witness coordinator.  All of those folks will have received some version of events even before the child testifies for the first time under oath before a magisterial district judge.

This is precisely why the defense must be careful and exploit the consistent barrage of nurses, doctors, victim advocates and the like that will provide the young victim with plenty of attention and promote "truth telling."  A child doesn't necessarily know that what they are doing is right or wrong, but they do recognize that many adults are giving them much needed attention.  The psychological impact of this "coaching" is a key factor for the defense in dismantling the child victim's credibility and veracity.  Minor, if not seemingly, insignificant changes in testimony over time to various persons provide much needed fodder for a skillful defense attorney to tactically and methodically dismantle the child's credibility.

If you've been charged or are being investigated for the commission of a sex offense against a child, contact an experienced Child Sex Abuse Defense Attorney at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

1 Comment

here is nothing legal about sex laws. Sex laws have progressively gotten more punitive over the years to the point that a person traveling to visit a friend or relative must report within three days in each state, must register their whereabouts and is legally confined to state or local areas and in my humble opinion after so many years on this registry (25+) seems anyone in direct option of the power players use anyone as guided sex missiles standing to offer us a coupon for two breast so we can make an inappropriate comment or sexually interpreted action to put someone on the list, what is to keep the law from confining someone to a home/room/grave? Placing someone in the custody of an individual? Who is to say that individual does not only want more than their silver polished? What"s next? Maybe forcing someone to sleep with someone they don’t know to save them/room/prison for convenience/death to blanche our budget? Isn’t that what is already being done in Motels/Hotels/Prisons where sex offenders/political prisoners, are housed now? Say a kid whats to have sex with someone/masturbate/take off their own dipper, are they to be put to death for the desire or the desire to have sex with someone not within an idealistic age deemed appropriate, or say that someone is themselves through masturbation, what is the difference, when the outcome is a lifetime of monitoring by people that have no desire for companionship/intimacy/sex/ even love unconditionally? Sex laws are an imposition where law has no place too tread and what happens? Officers come and beat you up, throw you in jail and warn you to go back to a slaves existence created by unjust law? Is that not what happened in Egypt when Israel slaves chose to kill all first born children before going on the run and spending 40 year in the desert dodging another religion, and won't that be the outcome in forty years all over again or something similar as these laws prove to reveal the final solutions again as they have again and again by the same people that have done this so many times and people are expected to register or die in prison? Put us in a situations where we can’t defend ourselfs from the law? The intimidation organized by law is wrong concerning sex. So quite frankly sex laws are sex slavery and the courts are the traffickers using law enforcement to facilitate the law of slavery to an unjust system of abuse of freedom to move about the country or even from town to town, apartment, to apartment, person to person through laws concerning sex and if equality were the goal then there would be no law, so then what is the ultimate goal as gender becomes the means by which a mother and her daughter can conspire to use men even their siblings through laws that have no defensive availability of proof other than word of mouth?

I watched the person inject the little thing into my hand at that prison in San Luis Obispo and getting my arm fractured, back injured, home broken into by officers has only added to my convection against the people pushing these laws which must be ended and the power taken form the law that would give power to such people. Its time to stop or face a horrible future that has no good outcome when lies told are so easy to be seen as what they are and why they are told.

Sex laws promote inequality between sex and sex is only the determination between mail and female so what people have made of sex through laws has nothing to do with the actual condition that is transpiring as a result of these laws. We have no democracy when people for political reasons set out to make laws so many years in advance that they start the process prior to the birth of a dying generation. These are facts and we are on a treadmill with no escape without a collective who are willing to open their minds to effect change. Please read my blog at,
or call at 818 627-8060

Best regards,
Keith Richard Radford Jr

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