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How hard it is to convict a sex offender

Updated on October 8, 2009

How hard it is to convict a sex offender

                Many misconceptions about convicted child molester have gone around the internet and everyone’s home table. It is often the general believe that if a child accuses someone of molesting them that the person is arrested, a trial is set and the person becomes a  convicted sex offender.  When after reading this article you will find a much different scenario which is not only scary, but when it was presented to the state of official in charge, it was not a shock, most of them tried to explain why it was done this way. The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty except a victim, and most victim right bills do not pertain to children.

                When a child comes forward to explain what they has been done to them they are hard to believe, often times because they do not have an adult mentality and they cannot use words or explanations that give someone the perfect description of what happen to them. That is why having special counselors and train professionals are needed from the beginning, and why they should not be made to confront the person they are accusing of the crime. From the point of coming forward often times an exam is ordered, however unless the child molester is very comfortable with this victim or they were caught in the act chances are the exams are only going to show swelling, or soreness, that any defense attorney can and will try to explain away. Even raped women who wait too long don’t show signs of physical rape just emotional rape, however, with children it is the emotional damage that usually gets the conviction. If the police were not involved up to this point, they will get involved after the examination regardless of the results, again don’t expect this to happen quick, there second step is to talk with the accused. This is where things really start to slow down and make it hard to convict a sex offender. 

                Of course the child molester is going to deny ever doing anything wrong, often they will offer proof of their innocence by offering names of other children they have been around or character witnesses who they know would never believe such a thing.  The next legal move is to get everything from the victim interview, exam and the accused interview to the prosecutor. The prosecutor will then want to visit with the victim, explain the process, many times let the parents know right from the beginning that they will do everything in the power of the law to get a conviction; however, because of shows like CSI and Law &Order many jury’s find it hard to convict a sex offender when it is their word against a child’s.  Of course no parent would be willing to give up that easily and want to pursue in the conviction, the next move is to take the evidence in front of the grand jury. When and if the grand jury decides to proceed, it is at that time an arrest and a bail is set. Keep in mind from start the child coming forward to the grand jury decision the time frame is 3-6 months. Once the arrest is made there are pretrial’s and motions that will last at least 6 months to a year, parents who can’t take much more are usually left with 2 option, allow for plea deal of time served or the accused does not have to be on the sex offender registry, or they can drop the charges and move on. As time moves forward if the victim and parents can hang on, when the trial approaches they get to listen to accusation of what is going to said to their child, and possibly what they will be accused of. The days of leading up to the trial will offer many plea offers, rejections, just a complete emotional roller coaster at which time the trial will begin.

                In conclusion to convict a sex offender it is no easy task, nor is it a quick one. In total 1-2 years is normal to gain a conviction, if a family is lucky when the arrest is made the accused sex offender may not be able to make bond, leaving them in jail until after they are convicted.  Of course that is if the jury selected actually convicts the accused, remember a victim that has been through counseling for over a year is not going to appear as traumatized as one that was just molested. It is also hard to listen to a child tell a story that doesn’t sound as detailed as an adults. How many times have you figured out what a child was trying to tell you by deciphering what was actually said, I know my wife used to tell me everything my kids said to me, I didn’t have a clue. So how easily can someone on a jury take that as a lie, or reasonable doubt, destroying a victim who stood up for themselves to get justice?


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