The People’s Lawyer

How to deal with child sexual abuse accusations

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

A child sexual abuse allegation can be one of the most devastating situations an individual can face. The mere accusation casts a dark shadow of suspicion and negative stigma that can instantly destroy reputations, careers, and relationships.

What constitutes sexual abuse?

In West Virginia, child sexual abuse is a serious offense that involves a variety of sexual acts committed against a minor. The law states that child sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

  • Sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or sexual intrusion between a person and a child who is less than 16 years old.
  • Any act of sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or sexual intrusion between a person in a position of trust, authority, or supervision and who is at least 16 years old but less than 18 years old.
  • The use of a child in any sexual performance or any simulation of sexual conduct to produce any visual or print medium depicting such conduct.
  • Any act of incest between a parent, guardian, sibling or any person responsible for the care of a child.
  • Any act of indecent exposure, voyeurism or sexual exploitation of a child.

Understand that consent is not a defense to a charge of child sexual abuse in West Virginia, as minors are deemed incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities. Additionally, failure to report suspected child sexual abuse is a crime for certain professionals, such as teachers, health care workers and law enforcement officers.

How does it affect the life of the accused?

Aside from potential criminal charges, individuals facing sexual abuse allegations may lose employment opportunities, experience emotional distress, face civil lawsuits and have their reputation damaged.

Legal steps to take

It is crucial to understand that law enforcement and judicial authorities take child sexual abuse claims seriously. The primary focus will be protecting the alleged victim and investigating the credibility of the charges. However, accusations differ from convictions, and you may increase your chances of a favorable outcome with the proper legal guidance.