Child Sex Crimes
There are two types of sex crimes involving actual sexual contact with an underage person:
- Consensual sexual activity with a person who is not old enough to give consent (statutory rape)
- Nonconsensual activity with a young person (whether child or teenager)
There are also sex crimes in which a child is not present — the entire range of child pornography charges, as well as online solicitation of a minor where the person being solicited may have been a law enforcement decoy, not an underage person.
I’m criminal defense lawyer Gene Barton, the “Bulldog of Mississippi.” At my law firm, I defend cases of this nature for adults and juveniles facing child sex crime charges. For more than 40 years, I’ve been fighting to protect the rights and freedom of people facing criminal charges.
Note: I cannot defend criminal cases in the city where I am a prosecutor, which is Okolona. I can defend cases in greater Chickasaw County and surrounding counties throughout Mississippi, as well as in federal court.
I am not judgmental: I believe in the right of every individual to receive a fair trial with competent legal counsel. Every individual is entitled to a strong defense, as long as the rules of ethics are applied. I will never judge you or any member of your family. I will do my very best to help you with your problem.
Teenagers, Consent And Sex Crimes
Consensual sex crimes involve people for whom consent is not necessary because they are underage and unable to legally give consent to sex. The classic example is statutory rape where a teenager is involved in sexual activity with an adult. There have been numerous reported cases recently involving a young person and a doctor, school official, teacher, coach or someone else in a position of authority. In these cases, the prosecutor does not need to prove there was consent. However, there may be extenuating circumstances that an experienced Mississippi statutory rape defense attorney can use to build a defense.
Nonconsensual Sexual Activity Involving Teens Or Children
Sex crimes involving children and teens can range from inappropriate touching (what would be considered fondling under Mississippi statute) to child molestation.
Fondling is touching a person of the opposite sex under a certain age for lustful purposes. The touching can occur on any part of the body; it is not confined to the sex organs. It is the intent of the touching to gratify one’s sexual lust that makes fondling illegal. Fondling carries a 15-year prison sentence under Mississippi statute.
There need be no proof of penetration and there is generally no evidence that the touching occurred, except the statement of the child. In order to develop a defense, it is necessary to determine whether there was an ulterior motive by someone with influence over the child who coached the child to make the accusation.
Sexual battery, forcible sex with an underage person, is the most serious crime. It includes child sexual assault and child molestation. If the child victim is under the age of 10, he or she would be considered of a “tender age” and too young to defend him or herself. These cases present the greatest challenge as the social stigma against such crimes is significant. A person charged with harming, molesting or battering a child by sex is brought before the court with everything stacked against him or her.
It is most important that you be prepared to fight such charges with great fortitude. Many lawyers will simply say, “I don’t even want to handle such a case,” but every individual is entitled to a defense and in some of these cases, of course, the person accused of the crime has been wrongly accused. (Learn more about my philosophy regarding sex crime defense.)
Online Sex Crimes
Mississippi and other states have seen a tremendous increase in criminal charges for online sex crimes — including online solicitation of a minor — crimes where no child was actually involved. In these cases, a cybercrime unit in an adjoining county conducts sting operations in which an adult goes online and portrays him or herself as a minor and then entices an adult to agree to a potentially unlawful act.
Child pornography is another common online sex crime, including possession of child pornography, child porn distribution and production of child pornography.
Defense Against False Accusations By Children
Over the course of my legal career, I have seen people fabricate charges. I have seen expert witnesses for the state routinely make the same finding, regardless of the information presented. I have seen individuals interrogate children who were not properly trained to do so. I have seen relatives coach children to make statements about events that did not occur.
The Department of Human Services has developed protocols concerning the questioning of children. As your child sex crime defense attorney, I am familiar with the proper questioning techniques of forensic interviewing. It is now the standard to have a social worker take the child to a specially trained forensic interviewer who is a social worker with expertise in interviewing children. Ideally, the interview will be taped. This allows the interview to be reviewed at a later date by experts hired by the defense to ensure proper procedures were followed and the child was not influenced by the interviewer into making false statements.
This is not to say that children are not molested or that some charges are not legitimate. However, sometimes the charges aren’t legitimate, and you need an attorney who is qualified to look at the entire circumstance of how the charges arose, an attorney who can identify whether there was an ulterior motive. Your lawyer needs to review the medical evidence to see whether it supports the finding that a crime occurred. Specialists may be needed in the areas of forensic medicine, forensic child psychology, forensic interview techniques with children, pediatrics, forensic pediatrics and similar expert areas.
Contact Me If You Have Been Charged With Child Pornography Possession Or A Similar Crime
If you are facing any child sex crime charge, I will stand by your side. I will defend you vigorously, using every resource at my disposal. Call my Chickasaw County law firm at 662-260-6646 or contact me online for a free initial consultation regarding any criminal charge you face in Mississippi.