How Do People React When They Are Charged With A Sex Crime?
It is very tough when someone has been charged with a sex crime. I have dealt with numerous amounts of clients over the past few years that have been charged for sex crimes. We have had cases dismissed, some of them have pled to much lesser offenses, and some of them have been found responsible for very serious offenses. When they are first charged, that stigma has almost an immediate impact. Typically, people are going to lose their jobs, family members, and close friends are going to question how well they know this person, what they are capable of, shocked, or surprised at the allegations. Then may not be supportive of them as they go through something, even if they maintain their innocence.
Oftentimes, with those clients that I have a close relationship with, I am really the only person that is doing anything to fight for their position, and protect their rights. Even if they ultimately are convicted of something, it is the stigma of being arrested, or charged with the sex crime. People hear stories, and they just assume you are a horrible rapist, or child offender and you can be designated as sex offender in Arizona for statutory rape, and that you are automatically guilty.
The toughest part for my clients is being lumped in with the worst of the worst, even when on probation, or convicted of an offense. They are very concerned about being in counseling with much more violent or serious offenders. People think I am not like these people, and I do not do things to children. I am not violent, or whatever it may be more than in any other classification of offenders. People charged with sex crimes are very concerned about the stigma that comes with these allegations.
What prompted me to go into this line of work was not distaste for prosecution necessarily; it was distaste for seeing defense attorneys not treating their clients the way they deserve to be treated. From a representation standpoint, and a personal standpoint, I felt like whether you are a court appointed, or a private attorney, your client is relying on you to help them through this process. If you are going to be yelling at them, talking at them as if they are stupid, then I do not think you are doing your job. Part of our job is customer service, it is helping people through a tough situation, and helping people who did not go to law school understand the law. We need to help people who are facing terrifying consequences take it day by day, and do the work of trying to build a defense. They are defending their case, or resolving their case without completely collapsing in the process.
I feel like my job is both counselor, legal advocate, and almost a family support system for some of my clients, their friends, and family. So yes, I think in these types of cases, that is when those skills are definitely most utilized.
Do Most Sex Crime Cases Involve Strangers Or Acquaintances?
It is a mix if the alleged victim knows their attacker. There are definitely the serial rapist types of issues. They may start with someone they know, and then they get somewhat bolder, and branch out. There is that thrill in the result, the hunt, and the determination of who they may assault. Many of the cases, and especially the children’s cases, it is about opportunity. It typically is about him or her knowing a family friend, a family member, someone that the position of trust can be manipulated. They feel safe if they commit this crime, and the other person will not tell on them. If the child, or the individual who is not strong, the male or female dynamics fear continued harm, or that fear of disappointing someone that you know.
Obviously, the distance in reporting is often long in these types of cases, and it makes it hard for prosecutors, because physical evidence has vanished at that point.
How Can A Sex Crime Charge Affect Someone’s Relationship With Their Children?
You will not be able to see your children until they become adults, if you have committed a sex crime against your own children. I have dealt with that in several recent cases. One of the cases did not involve a hands-on offense, it involved the charges of voyeurism, essentially peeping on the victim, and because of the age of the victim, the concern of the court, the individual’s own children are going to be prevented from seeing their father until they reach the age of eighteen.
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