Imagine being accused of sexual abuse of a child. This happens to individuals every day, and many states they are not guilty. What are four myths or facts about child molesters everyone should be familiar with?
Not All Accused Child Molesters Are Guilty
People often assume an accusation of child molestation means the accused individual carried out the crime. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, according to some studies, 40 per cent of cases involving charges of sexual abuse fall into the category of divorce and custody cases. In 75 per cent of the cases, the legal system finds no evidence of abuse. This commonly happens in high-conflict divorce cases, ones in which the child may simply be saying what the favoured parent wants to hear. It may be the favoured parent made a comment and put the idea in the child’s head too. Children are easy to convince when they are trying to please a parent, and the same holds true when another authority figure is accused of this crime. The child may simply say what he believes adults in his life want to hear.
When a parent learns they are accused of this crime, legal help needs to be sought immediately. The same is true when any person is accused of sexual abuse of a child. The attorney can be of help in securing a professional trained in child sexual abuse to determine the validity of the accusation. This trained professional determines whether the child has been coached or influenced in another way to make these accusations. However, the first step for the person accused of this crime involves retaining a child molestation attorney. The attorney will be of great help in investigating the case and protecting the rights of the accused.
Child Molesters Aren’t Always Adults
Children often begin molesting others at a young age. Many of the offenders have been molested and act out the behaviour they have been exposed to. Sadly, some of these children start offending as young as 3, 4, or 5. They often don’t understand what they are doing is wrong, as it is behaviour they are modelling after adults they interact with. In fact, in one treatment program, 90 per cent of offenders had been victims of sexual abuse themselves.
Experts believe children who have been molested feel helpless when they are victimized. As a way to restore order in their world, they take on the role of the abuser, doing so to reclaim their sense of control and power. As a result, the cycle of abuse continues. This cycle must be broken, but finding a treatment program for young children can be challenging.
Up until a few years ago, finding a treatment program for young offenders was almost impossible. Today, programs exist to help these children, and parents and others in a position of authority need to ensure these children get help to stop the abuse in its tracks. For these individuals, legal help also becomes necessary, as the abuser may be turned over to law enforcement after the victim or their legal guardian reports the abuse. This tends to be scary for all involved, but it’s the first step in obtaining the help the abuser needs.
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Both Sexes Abuse Children
For years now, men have accounted for the majority of sexual molesters. However, that trend appears to be changing, although it may simply be a case of boys reporting the abuse more frequently. Female teachers across the country are now being accused of and charged with sex crimes involving students. This problem extends beyond teachers and includes coaches, principals, and more. This is not a new problem in America either.
Mary Kay Letourneau gained notoriety in 1997 when she pled guilty to the second-degree rape of a student under her care. Ms Letourneau became pregnant as a result of the rape and gave birth to a child fathered by her 12-year-old student Vili Fualaau. Initially, Ms Letourneau received a six-month jail sentence with three months suspended, and all contact with Fualaau was prohibited. She was caught with him not long after being released from jail and was sent back to serve out her seven-and-a-half-year jail sentence. Ms Letourneau gave birth to a second child while in jail. In 2005, Ms Letourneau and Mr Fualaau married, but this marriage ended in 2019.
Since that time, countless teachers and female figures in positions of authority have been charged and convicted of sex crimes involving children. Many of these women get short prison sentences and return to society. They aren’t alone when it comes to getting away with these crimes. Mothers who abuse their children often go unreported, as children don’t want to turn their parent in regardless of what they do.
Child Molesters Target Children in Single-Parent Households
Children in two-parent households become victims of sexual abusers along with those in single-parent homes. Molesters look for children desperate for love, affection, and attention. These children live in single-parent homes as well as two-parent homes where one or both parents are physically present but emotionally absent. The molester meets the child in a friendly situation and learns this child is prime for grooming.
Grooming takes place over a period of time. The grooming occurs over a period of hours or it could take years. The child soaks up the attention and the molester gradually takes things farther until the abuse begins. Often, the child believes they asked for the abuse because they were friendly with the abuser. As a result, they remain quiet about what is taking place. They don’t want to get their friend in trouble.
Moms and dads need to be aware of the signs of sexual abuse and take action immediately if they suspect their child is being abused. Quick action helps with the recovery process. Parents should never assume simply because a person is a friend their child is safe with them, as this gives the molester easy access to a vulnerable child.
Child molestation remains a problem in America today, and it can no longer be swept under the rug. When a person is charged with molestation, help must be obtained in the hopes of reforming the individual. Thanks to increased awareness, more programs are available for these individuals. The first step is acknowledging there is a problem, and often this occurs when charges are filed.