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What happens in child molestation cases? and with or without dna evidence and the victim took more then a year to come forward?

Colorado Springs, CO |

im a mothe of a now 10 yr old daugther the was molested when she was was 8 yrs old and she didnt say anything till after she turned 9...the guy waited 8 months and has finally went into the police department and said i was lying about everything and he even is stating hat he wasnt even in the state of colorado at that time which mind you this man is in the military and we have an email with the time we needed to be at the airport to pick him up but he is still denying it and he told the cops he would provide proof that he wasnt here which is hilirous and theres so much proof to that he please can you help me and let me know what can happen so i can be prepared and btw since then the cops and da let him go out of the country again while they are investigating still

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Attorney answers 3


The person who is being investigated definitely needs to get counsel. Sexual assault on children cases are extremely aggravated cases in CO and carry indeterminate sentencing (8 years to life, 16 years to life, etc. - with most people who are convicted serving life in prison). I don't care if you have to sell all of your life savings, you need a good and experienced criminal defense attorney. From being a former prosecutor, these cases are difficult to prove, given the inconsistencies in victim statements, frequent time lapses in reporting, and a host of other issues. If prosecutors in the Special Victim Unit or Child Sexual Assault Unit win 1/3 of their cases, most are happy. Juries do not like these cases and have difficulty sitting on them. However, in defending many of these cases, they are also incredibly difficult to defend - you can not attack a child victim on the stand in cross-examination or you are going to make yourself look like a mean, callous idiot. As a former judge, they are also difficult to preside over because of so many motions that are filed and so many legal issues that must be resolved. These are the most complicated cases by far in the criminal justice system. Prosecuting or defending murder cases.

From your question, it appears that you are related to the victim. The time period that it took to report will prove to be a problem for the prosecutors and the jury. Any inconsistencies in her statement would also pose to be a problem. The suspect has no responsibility to talk with the police at all. He also can not be forced to testify at trial. As such, any lies that he stated to the police may not be even admissible unless he chooses to take the witness stand and testify differently. With the lapse of time between the incident and reporting, it will be impossible to have DNA evidence. Also, DNA just shows that a person was there at SOME point in time, not necessarily on a given date or at a given time and definitely does not show what the person does. Unfortunately, CSI shows give WAY too much weight to DNA evidence. Even when DNA evidence is admissible, I have frequently found that if the expert from Colorado Bureau of Investigation does not explain it in simple terms to the jury, the jury simply does not understand it.


From your question I understand you to be the mother of the victim. Colorado has Victim Advocates through the DA's Offices. You should talk with the Advocate assigned to your complaint to understand the process and how your case is being pursued. The Victim Advocates may also provide information on any counseling services that the victim can use.

This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is advisable to consult with an attorney with full disclosure of relevant facts for a comprehensive leagl opinion.


The police will continue to investigate and a District Attorney must believe they can prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt before they will file charges. Unfortunately, you have no control over the progress of the investigation and you cannot force charges to be brought if the prosecutor isn't convinced they can get a conviction. The delay in reporting and lack of physical evidence will make prosecution more difficult, but may not make it impossible.

Another option you could consider is a civil suit. What your daughter has been through is both a criminal and civil wrong. The burden of proof in a civil court is lower - preponderance of the evidence v. proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the reason that the victim's family was about to get a civil verdict against O.J. Simpson even though the state could not obtain a criminal conviction. However it turns out, once the police investigation is complete (it sounds like their investigation is far from over) you may want to consider talking to an attorney about pursuing a civil claim on your daughter's behalf.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

Christopher Daniel Leroi

Christopher Daniel Leroi


Excellent reference to the civil remedies and lower burden of proof by Mr. Harkess.