Articles Posted in Crimes Against Children

State%20Map%20Florida.jpgChild predators, molesters, and other intent on harming child to satisfy his or her desires and criminal conduct will use many tricks and schemes to accomplish their goals and missions. Tragically, every year, many children are harmed and sexually battered by the very individuals entrusted with the care and supervision of the children including but not limited to teachers, teacher aides, coaches, mentors, counselors, school workers, day care center workers, child care providers, babysitters and others.

Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (4), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Battery as:

Law%20Books%20Statutes%20Regulations.jpgIn home, schools, day care centers, and other locations, children should be cared for in a supportive environment that protects the children and focuses on the health, safety and welfare of the children. These places should be safe havens for children. Unfortunately and, yes, tragically, many children are subjected to just terrible conduct on the part of perpetrators who put their own sordid and vile interests over the safety and well being of the child. Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (7), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition as:

(a) A person who:

law%20book%20on%20table.jpgIn home, schools, day care centers, and other locations, children should be cared for in a supportive environment that protects the children and focuses on the health, safety and welfare of the children. These places should be safe havens for children. Unfortunately and, yes, tragically, many children are injured, molested, and / or harmed in the very environment that should be safety zones or areas for children. Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (6), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Conduct as:

(a) A person who:

technology%20keyboard%20close%20up%20grey%20slim%20keys.jpgThe age of the Internet has brought a whole new risk or danger into the homes of most children and families – predators using online chats and communications to lure children. Because these risks, parents should take efforts to put restrictions and to supervise the use of the computer / internet by children. It should be noted that child predators are very shifty, clever, and lack impulse control when it comes to luring and enticing children into dangerous and life changing situations. Children lack the ability to consent from a legal, moral, and developmental standpoint.

Law enforcement officials, at times, are able to catch child predators who attempt to meet with children and then molest, assault, and rape them. Since the chats are online and saved for evidence, it can be most difficult for a child predator to defend himself or herself from the allegations that the child predator had the intent to assault / rape a child who the child predator made contact with. Like other criminal cases, the Defendant will be entitled to the representation of a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. When a child predator is caught and prosecuted, it does make one wonder how many other crimes were committed by the child predator and how many more crimes would be committed if the child predator was out in the community.

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) reported the recent arrest of a 24 year old man who was accused of having the intent to meet with and have sex with a 10 year old girl. You can read more about this disturbing story and the FBI’s fine undercover efforts to arrest this man at FBI – Man Wanted to Have Sex with Girls.

church%20steeple%20baptist%20church.jpgLike schools, churches should be a safe haven for children. Most churches are safe havens and do a great job of teaching, educating, and supervising the children at the church and during church activities. Most church members and employees understand and follow the principle of acting in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, at times, there are rogue individuals at churches or affiliated with churches that take the trust given by children and parents and crush that trust by molesting, abusing, or assaulting children under the care and supervision of the church. There have been a number of reports of abuse, molestation, and sexual assault related acts at churches or during church related activities. Many of these incidents result in a criminal investigation as well as a civl action for the horrendous crimes committed against the child. Of course, many incidents are never reported. Some that are reported do not result in enough evidence to arrest the perpetrator or enough evidence to properly prosecute the perpetrator.

When a child is molested or abused at a church, the case or incident can be quite complicated especially since the child and parents have an affiliation or membership with the church at issue. These incidents cause a drawing of lines as well. In many instances, there will be those that take the side of the perpetrator with others taking to the side of the parents and child. Regardless, it is the protection of the child that is most important. Furthermore, if one child has been molested then there is a good chance that others have been molested. Therefore, it is important that the abuse, molestation, or assault is properly reported and investigated by administrative and law enforcement officials and agencies.

During the early stages of the criminal investigation, it is important for the parents and child to get support and advice as needed from mental health counselors, victim advocates, law enforcement officials, and a lawyer. A Florida Child Injury Lawyer can advise the parents about the legal processes involved with the criminal case and potential civil case.

Technology%20Camera%20Photograph.jpgChild molesters and abusers are masters at deception, lies, misrepresentations, and trickery. Some lies are big ones while other lies are small ones the mission. Whatever the extent of the lie, the mission of the molester is the still the same – to lure a child into a trap and then abuse, molest, and / or assault the child.

Lost Dog Scheme

One tactic (of many) used by child abusers or molesters is the “lost dog scheme”. A child molester or predator will cruise around town and try to locate a child to supposedly “help” the predator find a “lost dog”. While dogs are frequently lost or missing in the community, a dog owner can look for his or her dog on his or her own or with the help of adults. A child should be instructed to stay away from strangers even if the stranger seems to need help finding a dog or doing some other good deed. While it is a tough lesson to teach a child, it is a very important one that can save the child from harm’s way and, in some instances, serious personal injuries and even death. Child molesters and predators are not always strangers to the child. Some are family friends and some are even family members. As such, the advice to stay away from strangers does not fit every situation of a child put at risk by a molester or child abuser.

Law%20Books%20Statutes%20Regulations.jpgWhen a child is abused or molested, a civil case may be pursued against the Defendant individually and possibly against a school, day care center, after school program, or other organization that employed or had a duty to supervise the Defendant who committed the horrendous acts against the child. In a civil case, there are two types of damages that can generally pursued: 1. Economic Damages; and 2. Non-Economic Damages.

Economic Damages. This refers to bills, expenses, and costs related to the injuries or harm caused by the acts of the Defendant. Economic Damages can be awarded for past bills and expenses and future bills and expenses reasonably related to the acts of the Defendant. For instnace, past medical bills and counseling expenses would be examples of economic damages. Often times, expert testimony is necessary to establish the need and reasonableness of the medical and counseling bills in the past and to be incurrein the future.

Non-Economic Damages. This refers to pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish and other damages reasonably related to the harm caused to the child as a result of the abuse and molestation of the child. In most States including Florida, there is no formula in place that sets forth the minimum or maxium damages for such cases except for cases against a government entity.

Insurance%20contract%20documents%20liability%20stacked%20papers.jpgWhen a case or claim is filed on behalf of an injured child, a Child Injury Lawyer will obtain documents and information pertinent to the case. Among the documents requested in a typical case will be those related to liability insurance. If the case involves a day care center, school, sports program, government agency, business, homeowner, or other person or entity, there may be liability insurance in place that will cover the injuries or damages related to the abuse or molestation of child. It should be noted that insurance policies vary as the following:

language and terms of the policy;

insurance coverage;

Law%20Books%20Statutes%20Regulations.jpgWhen a civil case or claim is pursued on behalf of injured child, one issue that often arises in every case is that of value of the case. A Child Injury Lawyer is often asked the the following questions:

*How much is the case worth?

*How much is the defendant willing to offer?

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With the vast use and access to the Internet, more and more crimes especially those committed against child (or at least attempted) originate from contact initiated on line through chat messages, e-mail, text messages, and social media networks like Facebook. A criminal or civil case may be established with evidence gathered online through websites and user accounts like the ones on Facebook. When a person is charged with crimes or attempted crimes, the Defendant will be entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. One issue that may be raised by the Defense is that the messages were not sent by the Defendant but by someone else with access to the account or by someone who hacked the account.
While this defense may be raised, it is unsuccessful in many cases due to the overwhelming amount of evidence in place against the Defendant. This is especially true when the Defendant sends photos or other identifying information to the child.

Because of the risks online and the fact that predators use Facebook and other sites to lure children in, parents should monitor computer use and make sure that the children are safe in the house, out of the house, and, yes, online. In Polk County, Florida, a police investigation resulted from a mother who was concerned about a man from Massachusetts who was soliciting her 16 year old son on Facebook. Once police were notified, police went undercover “online” and continued the apparent contact at least as far as the man in Massachusetts knew. The man was ultimately arrested after further messages and naked pictures were sent by the man to the 16 year old boy. It is disturbing to note that the man charged with this crimes is a Junior Hockey coach. You can read more about this story at Man Arrested for Crimes Involving Solicitation and Facebook – Polk County, Florida.