Charges: Aggravated Child Molestation
Defendant’s 13-year-old daughter alleged that when she was 8-years-old, Defendant molested her in her bedroom. In the forensic interview, the daughter reiterated her allegation. Defendant faced at least 25 years in prison if convicted of the charged conduct.
Defendant was the father of two teenage children, a son and a daughter who lived with their mother in Idaho. Previously, Defendant, his ex-wife and his children lived in Georgia. In 2019, a detective contacted Defendant, and requested to interview Defendant regarding his daughter’s allegation.
Defense counsel reached out to the detective to find out what the allegations were, and informed the detective, that counsel would cooperate with his investigation by providing him information, but that counsel would not let the Defendant be interviewed by him. The detective agreed not to take out a warrant for a short period of time so that he could see what counsels’ own investigation produced.
Defense counsel immediately met with Defendant and had him provide all information he had regarding his ex-wife’s background, marital history, his divorce paperwork, his shared parenting arrangement, his relationship with his children, his children’s relationship with his new wife, and his relationship with his stepdaughters. It was clear from the records that she was alienating her children against Defendant.
Defense counsel had Defendant take a polygraph which showed that he was telling the truth when he denied touching his daughter inappropriately. Counsel also had Defendant evaluated by an expert in sexual offenders. The expert determined that Defendant was not a pedophile.
Defense counsel was able to obtain extensive psychological records for Defendant’s daughter. Six months prior to her allegation outcry, Defendant’s daughter spent a week in an in-patient program for depression, and despite extensive counseling, she made no mention of being sexually abused by Defendant or anyone else. In fact, she attributed her depression to having to move to Idaho with her mother. The absence of a disclosure by her of sexual abuse in a safe setting was of paramount importance.
Counsel provided the forensic interview to an expert in forensic interviews. The expert found numerous problems with the interview, including the interviewer’s failure to screen for the ex-wife’s influence in the face of parental alienation, and allowing Defendant’s daughter to engage in speculation and fantasy. These problems coupled with the delayed disclosure made the allegation extremely unreliable, according to the expert.
Defense counsel provided all of the information gathered to the Camden County District Attorney’s Office, and argued that the case should be dismissed because there was no reliable evidence of a crime. The District Attorney’s Office reviewed our evidence, agreed with defense counsel, and closed the case without arrest of Defendant.