What to Do if Accused of Child Molestation
Don't talk to anyone except a lawyer.Even statements to a close friend or family member -- even a psychiatrist, counselor or clergy member -- might turn out to be very damaging.
Your statements to an attorney are privileged, so the attorney can't reveal them to anyone.
Hire an attorney who is experienced in defending people accused of sex offenses. Most of us offer a free initial consultation. Beware of "law firms" that send out a "case manager" who asks for a lot of money before you meet the attorney who will actually be representing you; they're often just a referral service that keeps most of your money and farms out the case to a local attorney desperate enough to accept the low fees they offer.
(California does have provisions where an attorney may reveal client secrets if he or she believes the client presents a danger to others. Even though it's permitted, I wouldn't betray a client's trust this way. If you're in a different state, the law may vary.)
Beware the pretext phone callMany times the police will have the alleged victim or another family member call a person suspected of a sex offense, then try to get incriminating statements. The whole time the caller is talking to the suspect, cops are telling them what to say and recording the conversation.
This is a specific EXCEPTION to the California law that says a phone conversation can't be recorded without all the parties' permission.
If you get a call accusing you of a sex offense, or asking you to apologize for doing something, HANG UP!
Don't talk to the policeRemember these words: "Officer, I respectfully decline to speak to you without an attorney present."
In every police investigation, there's a point where the focus shifts from finding out what happened to collecting evidence to convict someone. By the time they contact you, they've probably decided you're guilty and are looking for a way to prove it.
If you tell even the smallest lie, it will be used to show you know you're guilty; if the cops lie to you, it's good police work.
For instance, if you "go down to the station to answer a few questions," the cop will tell you you aren't under arrest and you're free to go. That may be true... or there may be ten cops outside, waiting to grab you if you try to leave. Cops often delay arresting a suspect so they won't have to read him his rights.
A tale of cautionI had a client who was in the middle of a messy divorce. He found out his wife's underage sister claimed he had sex with her.
The sister-in-law made a police report, but the DA, who knows false accusations are often made during messy divorces, decided not to file charges and closed the file.
My client and his mother, not knowing the DA wasn't filing, marched down to the DA's office and demanded to talk with someone. They gave an investigator the names of witnesses to call.
Since the file was already closed, the investigator didn't follow up... but the witnesses kept calling the DA, at the urging of my client and his mother, and eventually gave damaging statements that caused the DA to reopen his investigation and file felony charges.
If he called me first, I would have given him a free consultation and told him not do do it... and he wouldn't have needed to hire me!
Bottom line: DON'T TALK TO ANYONE BUT A LAWYER.