Child molestation is a crime which involves the sexual abuse (touching, fondling or engaging in conduct of a sexual nature) of a child. Each state will have its own specific definition of child molestation, but the general definition includes any sexual interaction between an adult and a child, particularly a child under the age of 14. It is illegal for an adult to touch a child in any lewd or lascivious manner, even if the child agreed to or even initiated such conduct. Consent is not a valid defense because a child is considered unable to render legal consent to sexual activity.
Child molestation may occur in the home environment or by a person in a position of trust with the child, such as a teacher, coach or doctor. In particular, individuals who work with children on a daily basis are at a greater risk of being accused of child molestation.
Criminal Charges for Child Molestation
This is one of the most serious sex crimes that a person may be accused of committing. Because children are the alleged victims, these offenses are considered particularly heinous in nature. Law enforcement officers and prosecuting attorneys are tireless in their mission to put alleged molesters behind bars. Though the specific penalties may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the offense itself, a defendant may face imprisonment, fines and victim restitution if convicted. Some victims bring civil cases against alleged child molesters as well, suing for damages. One of the most serious penalties associated with a child molestation conviction is mandatory sex offender registration for life. A defendant may also face ostracism by friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues.
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