There are many people who work with, or have constant contact with children who have been falsely accused of child sex abuse. Whether the claims were falsely made by a parent involved in a divorce or custody case, or a misinterpretation of an adult’s relationship with a child in a teacher-student or coaching scenario, such allegations—despite being unproven—can cause significant damage to the accused person’s personal life and professional reputation.
The following are three steps you must take immediately after learning about the false accusations. These steps will protect your rights and help to avoid being criminally charged:
- Hire a criminal defense lawyer – While you may believe hiring an attorney might be misconstrued as a sign of guilt, an experienced lawyer can protect your rights and provide advice on what to do. Once you have hired an attorney to represent you, law enforcement cannot not question you about the allegations without your attorney present.
- Do not make a statement – If you are approached by the police, avoid answering any questions or making any statements until you speak with a lawyer. You can inform the individual that you cannot talk about this matter until you have consulted with your attorney or until a later date. However, if an employer or human resources department asks about the allegations, you may be asked to answer their questions without a lawyer present. While you may get fired for refusing to answer questions about the accusations, refusing to do so may be the best course of action. Any answers you provide to your employer regarding the alleged incident will likely be turned over to law enforcement. Again, reach out to a lawyer as soon as you learn about your allegations.
- Build your defense – Collect and preserve any evidence you have that relates to the alleged victim and the relationship you two share. Common forms of evidence include photos, videos, text messages, e-mails, and computer records. The evidence can establish a platonic relationship between you and the alleged victim or show that you were somewhere else when the incident occurred. Additionally, create a list of potential witnesses who have information about the allegations, the alleged victim, or your relationship with the victim.
Not only does a conviction for child sex abuse lead to prison time and sex offender registration, but also the loss of employment, loss of child custody, and even a civil lawsuit for damages suffered by the alleged victim. At H. Benjamin Perez & Associates, P.C., our New York City lawyer can investigate the allegations, gather evidence, and develop a strong and effective defense strategy to help you avoid serious criminal penalties.
If you have been accused of child sex abuse in New York City, contact us today at (646) 770-0989. We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to provide experienced and knowledgeable legal help.