Child Molestation and Sex Crimes
Under Georgia law, there are several different types of sex crimes. Sex crimes against children include child molestation and aggravated child molestation. Child molestation is defined as performing any indecent or immoral act on or within close proximity of a child under 16 while intending to satisfy the desires of the victim or the offender. This crime becomes aggravated when the conduct harms the child’s body or includes some form of sodomy.
Georgia law also makes it illegal to entice children for indecent reasons, and to sexually exploit children. A person illegally entices a child when he propositions, lures, or transports a child to a location in order to molest the child or to perform acts which are deemed to be indecent.
Sexual exploitation of a child involves using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing any minor to participate in explicit behavior of a sexual nature in order to generate some visual depiction. Additionally, it is illegal for a person to generate, duplicate, dispense, encourage, convey, or own with the intention of conveying or dispensing any visual depiction of a child involved in such conduct. The same law also makes it illegal to possess such material.
Georgia law also provides criminal penalties for unlawful sexual acts against adults. For instance, a sexual battery is committed when the offender intentionally makes contact with the intimate parts of another person without consent. This crime becomes aggravated when a foreign object is intentionally used. The crime of aggravated sodomy occurs when an offender commits a sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of the other. Lastly, a rape is committed when a nonconsensual penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ occurs.
Defending Child Molestation and Other Sex Crimes
Defending sex crime allegations is often a complicated and lengthy endeavor. Among the first steps is to examine the statements made by the alleged victim or witnesses for any inconsistencies and the circumstances under which the statements were made. Inconsistent statements or a failure by law enforcement to follow standard protocol in attaining statements are indicators that an allegation is false. Children are exceptionally prone to suggestibility and coercion by adults or other children. Police officers or social workers not trained in the practice of interviewing children often extract statements that are exaggerated or purely fabricated. The way questions are phrased may lead to inaccurate responses. In many cases, these statements may be taped and offered to a jury for their consideration.
Defense counsel should also conduct an investigation into the background of the people involved in the case. The purpose of a background investigation is to search for any motive or explanation as to why the allegations were made. For example, it is not unheard of during a heated divorce for there to be false allegations of molestation. Allegations of molestation are often made by an adult with grievances towards another adult. In fact, there are times when a witness’ testimony regarding a child’s out-of-court statements is simply too unreliable, and a judge will not allow a jury to hear it. In the case of alleged adult victims, the social and legal history of the alleged victim will be examined for any red flags. Accusations are often made based on embarrassment, jealousy, or other emotions when no crime has been committed.
Medical evidence is another common issue raised at trial. With many sex crime allegations, a medical report is produced. It is important for a defense attorney to interview any treating physicians or nurses if possible, since not all the important information is contained within a medical report. Factors such as timing, the degree and type of damage, and physical evidence must be compared with the allegations. An expert witness may be needed to show that the allegations do not match the medical evidence, or that the evidence is benign in nature.
It is important to remember that false allegations can and do lead to convictions. That’s why it is absolutely necessary to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will defend your rights and fight for your interests. Our firm has successfully represented those falsely accused of molestation and sex crimes for many years. If you have been accused of molestation or a sex crime, our firm may be able to help.
The information provided above is a very general summary of Georgia sex crime laws at the time this text was prepared. Because this analysis is subject to change depending upon recent cases and legal developments, you should not rely on this summary as legal advice. As with any important legal question, you should always consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Our lawyers are licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Georgia.