Articles Tagged with child abuse

You survived a miserable divorce and thought you had made it through the worst of it—but you could not have been more wrong. After a nasty custody battle that gave you limited visitation, now your ex is accusing you of the worst thing imaginable: hurting your own children. Your life has been turned upside down, and you know things can get much, much worse. Now, more than ever, you need a tough, no-nonsense criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights. 

Criminal Penalties

In addition to the obvious damage to your relationship with your children, you are facing some serious penalties if convicted of these crimes:

  • Child Neglect: If you are found guilty of neglecting your children while they are in your care—failing to provide proper food, shelter, supervision, and so forth, you could face a year in the county jail, on top of $2,000 in fines.
  • Child Abuse:  Intentionally inflicting physical harm on children is a serious matter, and a guilty verdict could put you in prison for six years, in addition to fines as high as $6,000.
  • Child Molestation:  When children suffer sexual molestation at the hands of an abuser, that abuser could go to prison for eight years for each act of molestation.
  • Continued Sexual Abuse:  When convicted of three or more acts of sexual abuse of a child, an abuser could go to prison for 16 years.

Defending the Case

Defending child abuse cases can be tricky because emotional testimony by a hysterical ex is convincing, especially if there is physical evidence to indicate the possibility of abuse.  Sometimes children are manipulated by a vengeful parent or are eager to please that parent, ultimately sharing fabricated stories that they have no idea will destroy your life. The truth is society is eager to protect children and will frequently find a defendant guilty on the slimmest of evidence. That is why it is critical that you take immediate steps to protect yourself:

  • Do not speak to anyone, including the family, friends, and the police, about the charges without having your attorney present.
  • Do not have anything on social media that might present you as anything short of a model citizen and loving parent.
  • Share details of all child visits with your attorney, as well as the history of your relationship with your ex.
  • Help your attorney to gather a list of personal references—preferably those who have seen you interacting with your children.
  • Cooperate fully with Child Protective Services and their investigation.
  • Do not contact your ex or your children in an effort to understand the charges or convince them to drop them.

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Saturday, March 7th marked the seventh anniversary of the Balboa Park “Chelsea’s Run” to commemorate the 17-year-old Poway High School student who was sexually assaulted and killed in 2010 by convicted sex offender John Gardner. Chelsea King was abducted while running in a Rancho Bernardo park by Gardner, the same man who admitted to killing Amber Dubois of Escondido. Garner pled guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.

Six months later, “Chelsea’s Law” was passed after being signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law sharply increased penalties for those convicted of sexual assaults on minors (including the sentencing of life without parole). It also included reforms to increase outreach to paroled sex offenders most likely to re-offend, and made GPS monitoring mandatory for child sex offenders. It also barred sex offender parolees from being near where children congregate.

A report released five years after the enactment of Chelsea’s Law concluded that at least 332 defendants were charged statewide under various aspects of the Law. In San Diego County, 22 people were charged under the law between September 2014 and August 2015, including two who received terms of 25 years to life.

Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Aggravated sexual assault of a child is an extremely serious crime. It is a felony punishable by 15 years imprisonment to life, along with a fine of up to $50,000. The sentence will increase if there is multiple victims. See CA Penal Code § 269. Additionally, those convicted will be required to register as a sex offender.

One will be charged under § 269 if s/he allegedly sexually assaults a minor under the age of 14, or if the victim is a minor (under 18 years old) and seven years younger than the defendant.

Aggravated Kidnapping

The crime of aggravated kidnapping occurs when someone:

  • Uses force, fear, or fraud against a minor under age 14; or
  • Demands a ransom;
  • Causes the victim bodily harm or death;
  • Violates California’s carjacking law under Penal Code § 215.

See CA Penal Codes § 207, 208, 209. A conviction of aggravated kidnapping carries a prison sentence of five years to life, depending on the circumstances. Continue reading

The holiday month kicked off with a not-so-festive video that was uploaded on Facebook by an unknown man, pressuring a toddler, who is wearing diapers, to smoke what appears to be a marijuana blunt. The video was uploaded in the Chicago, Illinois area and drew such a national public outrage, that the Chicago Police Department is now looking for the man who uploaded the video. Additionally, detectives with the Area South Special Victims unit have become involved to investigate the footage. A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services also would not confirm whether they will be investigating the video, and the Attorney General’s office announced that it would not.

It is unknown when the video was taken or uploaded, but the man who filmed it may face child endangerment charges if caught. The man behind the camera is heard telling the toddler “smoke” and “inhale.” When the video ends the man appears to be saying “let me hit that.”

California Child Endangerment Law

The parents of two children allegedly found in ‘deplorable conditions’ were arrested in San Jacinto, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies and Child Protective Services (CPS) arrived at the 1600 block of Santa Fe Avenue after receiving a report about child abuse. The report to CPS came from an employee of the children’s school district. Authorities said they found two children “deliberately confined” to a room under “deplorable conditions” without access to a restroom or basic necessities. Deputies believe the children lived in that condition for more than one year. It was determined that this confinement occurred only during night time.

The children’s parents, Emily Tardy, 29, and Steven Crane, 38, were arrested for alleged child abuse. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office decided not to charge the couple with felony child abuse and instead charge them with misdemeanor child endangerment. Both are being held on $35,000 bail. They each pleaded not guilty to all counts and are scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 9.

California Penal Code 273(a) – Child Endangerment

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