Police report initially filed by me, my child's statement taken. 3 wks went by with no action taken. I as the parent, after discussing this with my child decided it would be more emotionally traumatic for my child to proceed. Dectective called wanted a second interview I informed him I wan't pressing charges. He has been harrassing me at home and at my job ever since. He has threatened to have the state take my child and to have my child subpoenaed by the state.
The State Attorney will decide if s/he is going to pick up the charges once a police report is made and there has been an investigation. The 8 year old is a minor and will have an Assistant State Attorney and a victim advocate assigned to her case to represent her. If she were not a minor and had made a report, which later she said was not true, she could be charged and arrested for making a false report, a misdemeanor. You did the right thing by reporting the alleged incident. Let the investigation happen, and let them talk to your child. If it turns out that they don't believe there is a crime, then they will not pursue it.
I certainly share your concerns with having your daughter go through the traumatic experience of speaking to a detetctive, victim's advocates, a prosecutor, and possibly a jury, and I agree with what the other lawyers have posted. But you can't make the decision as to whether the charges are filed. The police and prosecution must have a concern for all children, not just yours. If they let this case slide, who will be the next little girl to be molested? Nevertheless, I do think it's wise to retain a lawyer. The lawyer will help you share your concerns with the authorities.
BSO's Victim Services Unit provides assistance for the victims and witnesses of crimes through established advocacy policies and by providing necessary notification.
Victim/Witness Advocates deal with the emotional trauma resulting from a crime by addressing the physical and psychological well-being of a victim or witness. The unit provides crisis intervention, short-term counseling and referrals, criminal justice information, court support, and emergency assistance for limited shelter, food, and basic physical needs arising from victimization.
The agency's Victim Notification Specialist notifies known victims, including the next of kin of homicide victims and the relatives of minors who are victims, about the pending release of sentenced prisoners incarcerated in Broward County jails.
The Victim's Bill of Rights
Know your rights under the law. Victims of crime are entitled to information regarding:
Local community services
Availability of crimes compensation, when applicable
The victim's role in the legal and judicial systems
Victims also have a right to:
Protection from intimidation
Advanced notification of judicial proceedings related to arrest, release and proceedings, including when to submit written statements
Notification of scheduling changes by the agency scheduling court appearances
Attend and be heard at crucial stages of the judicial process
Prompt and timely disposition of a case (provided it does not interfere with the rights of the accused)
Consultation by the State Attorney's Office in certain felony crimes
Prompt return of property (if there is no compelling need to retain the property as evidence)
Request assistance from law enforcement or the state attorney in notifying employers and creditors of circumstances resulting from the crime
Request and receive restitution
Submit a victim impact statement to the court
Have a victim advocate attend depositions
Review portions of the pre-sentence investigation
Receive notification of the escape or release of the offender
In addition, the victims of a crime and the state attorney, with the consent of the victim, have standing to assert the rights of a crime victim as provided by law.
The Broward Sheriff's Office Victim / Witness Handbook includes information on these rights and other helpful information. Contact BSO at (954) 321-4200
I know other attorneys have comprehensively replied but I like to urge you that you should continue your cooperation with the police. This is not something which can be ignored and you do not press charges. I read a similar news items yesterday where a father (in Texas) killed on the spot a 47 old person who done similar sexual act with a 4 years old, and the police refused to charge the father. I am not justifying as act of vigilantism but justice should prevail in every case. We see these horrifying crimes everyday. I am sure you should be contacting social services so that they can also find some therapist for your daughter. Because this is an offense against the state (and against the collective conscience of our society), you cannot decide yourself to drop it.
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