I have written several articles law enforcement. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on Law Enforcement.
It seems that our country is letting criminals off way too easy, and I a not talking about shoplifting or other non violent crimes either. I am talking about the most henious of crimes and that is crimes involving children. Just about every species oof mammal provides a safe environment for their offspring at least until they are able to fend for themselves. Why can’t we as the “most advanced species” on the planet do so? I put this phrase in quotes because while we are at the top of the food chain we are not the most advanced species, dolphins and whales have larger brains and are capable of behaviors that we can only dream of, such as echolocation, communication accross vast distances and swim at speeds in orders of magnitudes faster than our best athletes.
The Importance of Children
Children and young people have the same general human rights as adults and also specific rights that recognize their special needs. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop to their full potential.
The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. By recognizing children’s rights in this way, the Convention firmly sets the focus on the whole child.
The Convention recognizes the fundamental human dignity of all children and the urgency of ensuring their well-being and development. It makes clear the idea that a basic quality of life should be the right of all children, rather than a privilege enjoyed by a few.
The importance of children’s rights
There are many reasons for singling out children’s rights in a separate human rights Convention:
Children are individuals
Children are neither the possessions of parents nor of the state, nor are they mere people-in-the-making; they have equal status as members of the human family.
Children start life as totally dependent beings
Children must rely on adults for the nurture and guidance they need to grow towards independence. Such nurture is ideally found from adults in children’s families, but when primary adult caregivers cannot meet children’s needs, it is up to the State as the primary duty bearer to find an alternative in the best interests of the child.
The actions, or inactions, of government impact children more strongly than any other group in society
Practically every area of government policy – from education to public health – affects children to some degree. Short-sighted policymaking that fails to take children into account has a negative impact on the future of all members of society.
Children’s views should be heard and considered in the political process
Children generally do not vote and do not traditionally take part in political processes. Without special attention to the opinions of children – as expressed at home and in schools, in local communities and even in governments – children’s views go unheard on the many important issues that affect them now or will affect them in the future.
Many changes in society are having a disproportionate, and often negative, impact on children
Transformation of the family structure, globalization, climate change, digitalization, mass migration, shifting employment patterns and a shrinking social welfare net in many countries all have strong impacts on children. The impact of these changes can be particularly devastating in situations of armed conflict and other emergencies.
The healthy development of children is crucial to the future well-being of any society
Because they are still developing, children are especially vulnerable – more so than adults – to poor living conditions such as poverty, inadequate health care, nutrition, safe water, housing and environmental pollution. The effects of disease, malnutrition and poverty threaten the future of children and therefore the future of the societies in which they live.
The costs to society of failing its children are huge
Social research findings show that children’s earliest experiences significantly influence their future development. The course of their development determines their contribution, or cost, to society over the course of their lives.
Protecting our children from abuse and neglect
Children depend on many adults as they grow up. Parents, relatives, teachers and child care workers all provide children with love, support and guidance.
No one wants to see children grow up with fear, anger or neglect. But no one is born knowing how to care for children. Sometimes we make mistakes that hurt them.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a relative or a caregiver, you can make a difference and help the children you love grow up in a caring, loving environment. Adults don’t have to be perfect, just willing to listen, learn, grow and change.
10 Reasons why we should protect children’s rights
1. It is an act of compassion that each of us must practice as citizens of this world.
“Great persons are able to do great kindnesses.” -Miguel de Cervantes
“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” -George Bernard Shaw
In my life time, I learned that indifference- the opposite of compassion and empathy- is one of the reasons in making this world poor, lonely and unsafe to live. The lack of compassion to others causes suffering or even death to some.
We hear news of children who become victims of abuses like ending up as sex slaves, or being raped or even being murdered. These happen because of people’s indifference. Adults, whom children are expecting to protect them, do not perform their responsibilities. Sad truth is, these people whom they trust and respect are mostly the same who fail children’s expectations and are causing their mishap.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion…” -The Apostle Paul (Col 3:12)
The Word is clear: we must clothe ourselves with compassion. It is indeed, greatness too to practice kindness especially to the little ones, the helpless and the vulnerable.
We should also remember that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted (Aesop) since this always makes a difference- it blesses both the receiver and the giver (Barbara de Angelis). Compassion does not only brings comfort to the receiver but also happiness to the giver. Quoting the Dalai Lama, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
What peaceful and happy world this could be if everyone is compassionate especially to children!
2. No one else will protect the children except the adults whom they depend on.
“We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we don’t no one else is going to do it.” -Dorothy Height
“I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves, children who have absolutely nothing but their courage and their smiles, their wits and their dreams.” -Audrey Hepburn
Children whose brain is like a sponge, ready to soak up everything it touches, remember everything- the good and the bad ones that they experience in life. For these very reason, adults must be extra careful in teaching them or setting as an examples since young people see their parents, family, friends, teachers and sports or activity coaches as largely positive influences in their lives. What adults say or do to children leaves remarkable impact on how they will eventually turn as adolescents in the long run: a child abused today can become social deviant tomorrow, or the child well taught today can become a great leader in the future.
3. This world we borrow from our children. Therefore, it is our moral obligation to make this earth a peaceful, healthy and safe place for them to live.
“We are the ancestors of our grandchildren. We look after them, just as our ancestors look after us. We aren’t here for ourselves. We are here for each other and for the children of our grandchildren.” -Roy Sesana
We must recognize that children have vital role in nation-building; that we should promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social well-being (Philippine Constitution, Article II, Section 13); that we should guarantee the fundamental rights of every child from all forms of neglect, cruelty and other conditions prejudicial to their developments (RA No. 9775, Section 2A).
4. Just like women, men, senior citizens, physically challenged, and indigenous culture, a child has rights, too.
“A child, like all other human beings, has inalienable rights.” -Lucrecia Mott
If we recognize that just like other human beings, children have inalienable rights too, it would be easier for adults to respect each child. That respect would somehow lead to hearing their voices and taking action after hearing them. This is important especially in issues and concerns of the young generation. It is vital that their opinion matters. It is equally necessary that we support and extend help during their dire needs.
5. As adults of this generation, we must set good examples to children so that they may grow their faith in humanity and become great examples, too later.
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
“Our generation has inherited an incredibly beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents. It is in our hands whether our children and their children inherit the same world.” -Richard Branson
“Help us show children around the world that we can make a difference together.” -Bradley Whitford
In this real world, there are no super heroes to protect the abused children; only parents, teachers, friends and other support groups. When fear is prevalent, we only have each other to comfort; when there is slavery and abuses, again, we only have the rest of us to fight against these.
Why is it important that adults set good examples to children? So that they become the best persons they can be when they grow old. And why it is important that children should grow their faith in humanity? Because if they don’t that will be the end of a better start for a brighter future.
6. If we speak in behalf of our children, we represent the same issues of humanity.
“…in serving the best interests of the children, we serve the best interest of all humanity.” -Carol Bellany
Have you heard the story of Ellah Joy Pique, a 6 year old victim in Cebu, who was kidnapped and later murdered? Police considers the angle of pedophilia and child pornography for her death. Her body was wrapped in white cloth, tied with wires and thrown in a cliff back in 2011. Many grief, showed support and up to now, are seeking justice for her death. Her story made her issue their issue, too. Now, many had been fighting to stop this cruelty from ever happening again not only to other children but to general public as well.
7. If we keep blind to abuses, keep silent to suffering and keep indifferent to death of morality, we are the same as the greedy, murderers and evil doers because we encourage them, not stop them from their works.
“If we don’t stand up for children then we don’t stand for much”. -Marian Wright Edelman
“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there must be no silent witnesses.” -Carol Bellamy
A meaningful quote from Elie Wiesel elaborating why indifference is an epitome of evil: The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.
This means that if we fail to care, we succeed the evil works. When we fail to expose the abusers because we don’t care for the victims, then we are one of the accomplices. In the environment where hostility resides, we should take sides since at all times, neutrality benefits the oppressor and not the victims (Elie Wiesel).
8. The way we treat our children reflects our moral system.
“It was once said that the moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of their life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” -Hubert Humphey
“Children reflects the quality of life… when our children are happy, then we are better as human beings.” -Whoopi Goldberg
A beautiful quote also from Mahatma Gandhi which states that a nation’s greatness is tested by how it treats its weakest members, like the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. So true especially for democratic society where the people’s voices should be heard since they are the ones who choose their leaders through their votes. Although, children may not yet cast their numbers during election, it is equally important that their general welfare are taken care of.
9. Children are our future.
“There can be no global security without respect for children. We have to be more than just observers of children’s suffering; we have to be partners with them in their struggles.” -Landon Pearson
If we want to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren, we must teach and show today’s children concern: we must uphold their self- esteem, teach them right values of life, protect their general rights and provide them the same responsibility to make the world a beautiful, peaceful, healthy, and safe place to inhabit, one generation at a time.
10. As people who believe in Jesus Christ, we cannot be like Him if we don’t show compassion to others especially to children.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me, to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”. -Jesus warns. Found in Matthew 18: 2-6
We must protect the rights of children not only because it is our moral obligation to do so as cosmopolitans but also as a children of the Divine creator. We must be compassionate, just as our Father is compassionate to us (Luke 6:36).
It is a sad state of affairs when I have to write an article like this explaining why it is important to protect our children so that they can develop into productive adults and to perpetuate our species. Why is it that the democrats only talk about the rights of mothers to have abortions? Aborting babies does not serve any purpose in the grand scheme of things except to spell the demise of our species or at the very least our country.
Now that we have established that protecting our children is good and that harming them is bad, let’s figure out why we are letting child molestors off with barely a slap on the wrist in California. Does the justice department hate children? Do they not understand that if we he have no children, we die as a species? Child molestation is a serious crime, because the actions taken against these children affect the rest of teir lives even as they mature into adulthood. While I was never molested or abused while I was a child, events that took place in my childhood have affected my life. I can’t imagine how being sexually abused by someone we should be able to trust, would have affected my life. I have always tried to put myself in other people’s shoes and give them the benefit of the doubt. I have also always tried to treat everyone the way I would want to be treated and that is with kindness and respect. If our children are not afforded this treatment, how do you think they will learn these skills. The answer is that they won’t. Children that are abused will invariably become abusers themselves when they reach adulthood.
Child Molestation Laws in California – 6 Key Things to Know
California child molestation laws make it a crime to engage in (or to attempt to engage in) sexual acts with a child under 18 years of age. Depending on the age of the minor and the nature of the sexual contact, the consequences can range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges with life in prison.
State child molestation crimes are defined in California Penal Code Sections 288, 287, 288.2, 288.3, 288.4, 288.5, 288.7, 647.6, and 261.5. The term “minor” is defined differently among the statutes. Unless otherwise specified, though, it means a person under the age of 18.
Here is a brief synopsis of the primary code sections:
- Penal Code 288 PC makes it a crime for a person to commit a lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 16. Lewd acts with a minor include:
- touching a child’s body for sexual purposes (and the touching does not have to be on bare skin), or
- causing a child to touch him/herself or someone else for a sexual purpose (such as to gratify sexual desires).
- Penal Code 287 PC makes it a crime for a person to perform oral copulation with a minor under the age of 18. “Oral copulation” is any contact between the mouth of one person and the sexual organ or anus of another.
- Penal Code 288.2 PC prohibits sending explicit or obscene matter to a minor under 18 with the intent of:
- sexually arousing the sender and/or the recipient, and
- seducing the recipient.
- Penal Code 288.3 PC says it is a crime for a person to contact a minor with the intent to commit a felony. A felony here means a serious felony or a California sex crime.
- Penal Code 288.4 PC makes it a crime for a person to arrange a meeting with a minor with the intent to engage in certain sexual conduct.
- Penal Code 288.5 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to engage in the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age. This means three or more instances of abuse occurring over a duration of three months or longer.
- Penal Code 288.7 PC says it is a crime when an adult engages in sexual acts with a child under 10 years of age.
- Penal Code 647.6 PC criminalizes the act of annoying a minor under the age of 18. “Annoy” refers to conduct that is:
- motivated by a sexual interest in a child, and
- which is likely to disturb, irritate or be observed by a child.
- Penal Code 261.5 PC defines the crime of unlawful sex with a minor. This offense takes place when any person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18. (Note that the age of consent to have sex in California is 18 years of age).
A defendant can raise a legal defense to beat a child molesting charge. A few common sex crime defenses are:
- the alleged victim does not meet the age criteria for the crime,
- any contact was not sexual in nature, and/or
- the accuser made a false accusation.
Violations of these laws can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges in the state of California. Penalties can include sex offender registration and time spent in either:
- county jail, or
- a California state prison.
In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys will discuss 6 key things to know about California child molestation laws:
- 1. What are the best defense strategies in a child molestation case?
- 2. What are the potential consequences?
- 3. Will these crimes lead to deportation?
- 4. Can a person get a conviction expunged?
- 5. Does a conviction affect a person’s gun rights?
- 6. Are there related offenses?
1. What are the best defense strategies in a child molestation case?
Defense lawyers draw on several legal strategies in attacking child molestation charges. These include showing that:
- the alleged “victim” does not meet the age criteria for the sexual assault crime.
- to the extent that there was contact with a minor, it was not sexual in nature.
- The accuser made a false accusation.
That there was no use of force by the defendant – or that the minor consented – is not a defense to sex-related child abuse charges.
1.1. The alleged “victim” does not meet the age criteria for the crime
All of California’s child molestation laws require that a perpetrator commit a prohibited act against a “minor.” A “minor” under these statutes usually refers to someone under the age of 18. However, some statutes say a minor is someone of a different age (such as under 14, or under 10).
Given these different ages, a defense can be crafted that focuses on the victim’s age. The defense says that the person harmed did not meet the age criteria under the statute in question.
Example: Penal Code 288 punishes people when they commit a lewd act on someone under the age of 16. A defense, then, is for the accused to show that, while he may have committed a lewd act, it was done on a person that was over 16.
1.2. Any contact was not sexual in nature
Many of the child molestation statutes require that a defendant touch a minor in a sexual manner. This means it is a valid defense for a defendant to say that:
- he did contact a minor, but
- that contact was not sexual in nature.
Perhaps, for example, an accused bumped into a minor while playing a game.
1.3. The accuser made a false accusation
Sometimes a child gets touched inappropriately but is confused about the identity of the perpetrator. This is especially common when:
- the defendant was unknown to the child,
- the touching took place in dark or unfamiliar place,
- the perpetrator was a different race than the defendant, or
- the child was very young.
All of these can lead to a person being falsely accused of child molestation. A child can also wrongfully blame a person out of:
- an ulterior motive, or
- adult manipulation.
No matter the reasoning behind the child’s acts, a defendant can always assert that he was unjustly blamed.
People convicted of child molestation are often required to go on the sex offender registry.
2. What are the potential consequences?
A violation of PC 288 can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in county jail. A felony charge could lead to a life sentence in state prison.
A violation of PC 287 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The facts of the case will determine how the offense is charged. If a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by up to one year in county jail. If a felony, the crime is punishable by up to eight years in state prison.
A violation of PC 288.2 is a wobbler offense. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up to six months in county jail. If charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by up to three years in state prison.
A violation of PC 288.3 requires that the offender contact a minor with the intent to commit a certain felony. The penalties for the crime are the same as those for the felony that the defendant wanted to commit.
Most violations of PC 288.4 are charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties include imprisonment in county jail for up to one year. The offender will also be required to register as a tier one sex offender.
A violation of PC 288.5 is charged as a felony. Penalties can be as high as 16 years in state prison.
A violation of PC 288.7 can trigger a sentence of life in prison. This is true even with a first offense.
Violations of PC 647.6 are charged as misdemeanors. The crime is punishable by custody in county jail for up to one year.
A violation of PC 261.5 is a wobbler offense. The maximum punishment includes up to four years in state prison.
Moreover, a conviction for any of these crimes other than PC 261.5 will require registration as a sex offender.
3. Will these crimes lead to deportation?
A conviction of child sexual abuse may have negative immigration consequences.
United States immigration law says that certain kinds of criminal convictions can lead to:
Many of California’s child molestation offenses are considered these types of offenses. Therefore, a conviction will hurt a person’s immigration status.
4. Can these convictions later be expunged?
A person can get a conviction of these laws expunged from his/her criminal record if the crime is charged as a misdemeanor.
California law says that a felony conviction leading to a prison term cannot get expunged.
However, an expungement is available for misdemeanor convictions.
This is provided that the defendant successfully completes:
- a jail term, or
- probation (whichever was imposed).
5. Does a conviction affect a person’s gun rights?
A conviction may affect the convicted party’s gun rights.
According to California law, convicted felons are prohibited from:
- buying a gun, or
- possessing a gun.
Recall that a violation of one of these laws may result in a felony charge. If this happens, and there is a conviction, a defendant will lose his gun rights.
6. Are there related offenses?
There are three sex offenses related to child molestation. These are:
- child pornography – PC 311,
- sexual battery – PC 243.4, and
- kidnapping – PC 207
6.1. Child pornography – PC 311
Penal Code 311 PC and subsections are California’s child pornography laws.
These sections make it a crime for a person to either:
- send, transport, duplicate, print, exchange, advertise or possess child pornography, or
- hire or persuade minors to participate in making pornographic imagery.
For purposes of these laws, “child pornography” is defined as:
- any matter or material,
- depicting sexual conduct,
- by a person under the age of 18.
6.2. Sexual battery – PC 243.4
Penal Code 243.4 PC is California’s sexual battery statute.
The law prohibits touching the intimate part of another person for purposes of sexual:
- arousal, or
6.3. Kidnapping – PC 207
Penal Code 207 PC is the California statute that defines the crime of kidnapping.
A person commits this offense by:
- moving another person,
- a substantial distance,
- without the person’s consent, and
- by using force or fear.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED MISDEMEANOR CHILD MOLESTATION IN CALIFORNIA?
In California, various crimes can be considered misdemeanor child molestation. In short, you may face misdemeanor charges for doing anything to a child that has sexual intent. However, California penal codes outline more specific answers to what is considered a child molestation misdemeanor.
Child molestation charges, however, are considered wobblers – they can either be misdemeanors or felonies. If you face criminal charges for child molestation, your case may incur penalties for one or the other depending on your prior criminal record and circumstances surrounding your case.
What Qualifies As Child Molestation in California?
California penal codes make it a crime to engage in sexual acts with anyone under the age of 18. Various penal codes outline the different types of crimes that constitute child molestation, and you do not have to engage in sexual intercourse to be charged with child molestation.
The different crimes that classify as child molestation include:
- Lewd or lascivious acts: Touching for sexual purposes or making the child touch themselves for your sexual gratification.
- Oral copulation: Performing any type of oral sex on a child.
- Sending explicit matter: Sending obscene media to a minor with the intent of sexual arousal or seduction.
- Annoying a minor: Harassment motivated by sexual interest in the child.
- Unlawful sex: Engaging in sexual intercourse with a child.
In addition to these acts, a person may face child molestation misdemeanor charges for exhibiting sexual language, behaviors, and interest in anyone under the age of 18 (which is California’s legal age of consent).
Sexual Language or Behavior
In Los Angeles, annoying or molesting a child refers to directing sexual behavior or language towards a minor. It does not matter if the adult’s speech or behavior is done with or without the child’s permission.
California Penal Code Section 647.6 offers protection to anyone under 18 and outlines various child molestation charges. PC 647.6 (a)(1) requires the child to be under 18 for the sexual language or behavior to constitute a crime.
PC 647.6 (a)(2) also outlines molestation crimes. The difference is the latter allows you to be charged if a police officer poses as a minor and you are found guilty of annoying or molesting them.
Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children
It is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with a child under 18 years old. It is also illegal to have an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in any child. You can be charged with misdemeanor child molestation if you enter a house without consent to annoy or have sexual contact with a child. The definition of a “house” includes:
- An apartment
- A trailer
- Any inhabited area of a building
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 928-9347
Examples of Child Molestation
Misdemeanor child molestation is a “catch-all” molestation crime. That means you can be accused of touching a child but not in a way that violates other child molestation charges. Examples of conduct under child molestation laws include:
- Secretly videotaping a minor in the bathroom
- Sending sexual messages via texts or social media to a minor
- Fondling a teenager in an apartment with their consent
- Using sexual language in an abnormal manner to a child or teenager
- Kissing a child with or without their consent
- Touching a child for sexual gratification
Since sexual acts with a minor are illegal in California, consent makes no difference in a child molestation misdemeanor charge. You will face punishments regardless if the child agreed or initiated the contact.
What is ‘Continuous sexual abuse of a child?’
Continuous sexual abuse of a child occurs when a person:
- Lives with or has access to a person under 14 years old, and
- Over the course of 3 months or longer, commits 3 or more acts of:
- Substantial sexual contact, or
- Lewd acts
Under case law, access means that the defendant must:
- Have had an otherwise normal, existing relationship to the child prior to the alleged abuse (as a teacher, relative, coach, priest, etc.), and
- Be in a position of authority or power over the child, or in a position to otherwise command respect.
Substantial sexual contact is defined as masturbation of the child or defendant, oral copulation, or penetration of either party’s anus or rectum by a penis or foreign object.
Lewd acts on a child is willful touching of a child with the intent to sexually arouse him or her. In order to qualify as “lewd acts,” the touching does not need to be done in an overtly sexual manner, and it does not require that the touching be on bare skin.
How is continuous sexual abuse of a child prosecuted?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, if a child has trouble remembering dates, facts or details around specific incidents, it can make things difficult for the prosecutor to pursue specific charges related to each incident. This law (PC 288.5) was written as a way for the state to punish cases where there is a pattern of illicit behavior, but that some specifics may be unclear.
In order to prove continuous sexual abuse of a child, the prosecution does not need to prove the specific dates of each illicit incident. Instead, it simply must prove that the first and last dates of abuse spanned at least three months.
The prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that at least three acts of molestation took place. The jury does not have to agree on which three incidents took place, simply that at least three took place over the 3+ month period.
Let’s look at four different examples:
Example 1: Mike, 32, is a teacher and Lisa, 12, is in his class. Over the course of a six month school term, Mike engages in six acts of illicit touching with Lisa (one per month). Based on the testimony offered at trial, seven of the jurors agree that the first three acts took place. The other five jurors think that the final three acts happened. Because all 12 jurors agree that three acts took place, even though they disagree on which ones, they can render a guilty verdict.
Example 2: Tom, 18, is neighbors with Erin, 13. Over a period of four months, Tom sneaks into Erin’s house and engages in oral copulation with her. If Tom otherwise had no relationship with Erin — that he wasn’t in a position of trust or authority — it might not be possible to convict Tom under this law.
Example 3: Mindy, 40, is a day care worker for Dylan, 6. Over a period of five months, Mindy plays “doctor” with Dylan seven times, rubbing his penis over his clothes. Even though this situation was presented to Dylan as an innocent game and that the touching was done over his clothes, this could qualify as continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Example 4: Christine, 45, is the stepmother of Mike, 11. The prosecution claims that over a period of four months, Christine has coerced Mike into “fingering” her on six occasions. Based on the testimony in court, the prosecution is able to prove the first five incidents, which all happened in a two-month span. However, it cannot prove the sixth, which happened in Month 4. Because the prosecution can only prove a two month pattern of behavior, they could render a not guilty verdict. However, Christine could be charged with other crimes.
Penalty for continuous sexual abuse of a child
Under California 288.5 PC, continuous sexual abuse of a child is a felony. If you are convicted, the judge has the option to sentence you to 6, 12 or 16 years of prison time.
Upon your release, you will be required to register as a “tier three” lifetime sex offender.
‘Lewd acts with a minor’
If there was no pattern of illicit contact, or if the prosecution feels it has enough evidence to charge you for each incidence of illicit contact with a minor over a period of time, you’ll most likely be charged with “Lewd acts with a minor.“
‘Oral copulation with a minor’
It is illegal to have sex with anyone under 18 in California. In cases where a person is found to have had oral sex with someone 17 or younger, they can be charged with “Oral copulation with a minor.”
Four Ways to Convict a Child Molestation Misdemeanor in California
If you are accused of annoying or molesting a child, a prosecutor must prove four elements. They are:
- You engaged in conduct directed towards a minor
- A normal individual would be irritated, disturbed, offended, or injured by your sexual behavior
- Your conduct toward the minor was motivated by an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in the child
- At the time of the act, the minor was under the age of 18
Punishment for Misdemeanor Child Molestation in California
A first-time misdemeanor for molesting a child is time in county jail, and you may receive a sentence of up to one year and misdemeanor probation. In addition, you may also have to pay up to $5,00 in fines and additional compensation in restitution charges.
If you have a prior sex offense conviction, your misdemeanor may increase to a felony. The felony is punishable by two to six years in state prison, $5,000 in fines, restitution charges, community service, and formal probation.
Registering as a California Sex Offender
In addition, the court may require you to register as a sex offender for the state of California. You must update your registration with your local law enforcement each year you live, go to school in, or work in the state. If you fail to register or update your registration, you face additional criminal punishment.
Misdemeanor Probation for Child Molestation
If you receive formal probation for molesting a child, you must follow certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Visiting your probation officer as indicated
- Staying out of criminal trouble
- Attending rehabilitation or sexual addiction therapy
- Completing random drug testing
- Allowing random searches of your home
- Performing community service
‘It’s frightening for society.’ Thousands of convicted pedophiles in California are being released from prison in less than a year for horrific acts, including rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of kids under 14, DailyMail.com investigation reveals
Pedophiles are getting less than a year prison time after a range of horrific acts, including raping kids under 14, a DailyMail.com investigation reveals.
Analysis of a California database of sex offenders shows thousands of child molesters are being let out after just a few months, despite sentencing guidelines.
Current and former sex crime prosecutors said the figures are ‘terrifying’ and ‘shameful’.
More than 7,000 sex offenders were convicted of ‘lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age’ but were let out of prison the same year they were incarcerated, data from the California Megan’s Law database says.
Others who committed some of the worst child sex crimes on the statute books served similarly short sentences, including 365 pedophiles convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child who spent less than 12 months in prison, 39 cases of sodomy with a child under 16, and three cases of kidnapping a child under 14 ‘with intent to commit lewd or lascivious acts’, according to the data.
Former Los Angeles sex crimes prosecutor Samuel Dordulian told DailyMail.com he was ‘shocked’ by the statistics and described them as ‘frightening for society’.
An analysis of a California sex offenders database shows thousands of child molesters are being let out after just a few months. Noah Thomas Holt, from Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, was convicted in 2013 of lewd acts with an under-14, child pornography possession and indecent exposure. He was released within a year of his conviction
‘Statistics clearly show that pedophiles don’t get reformed. They’re going to come out and they’re going to commit again,’ Dordulian said.
‘Letting these people out early, we’re allowing for a lot more victimization. And that’s terrifying.’
It is unclear whether the Megan’s Law database prison time statistics are similar for other states, as DailyMail.com was only able to obtain detailed sex offender data for California.
One offender in the database is Reseda, resident Carlos Alexander Nahue, 48, who was convicted of ‘continuous sexual abuse of a child’ in 2015.
His Los Angeles court records say he was charged in October 2014 and pled no contest to the crime in January 2015 – but was sentenced to just two days in an LA county jail and five years of probation.
He now lives one block from Royal Montessori School daycare and three blocks from Reseda Elementary School, according to the Megan’s Law database.
Noah Thomas Holt, from Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, was convicted in 2013 of lewd acts with an under-14-year-old, child pornography possession and indecent exposure.
The 31-year-old was convicted on a no contest plea in December 2013. But Megan’s law data says he was released within a year, and according to his Facebook page he started a new job at manufacturing company Threshold Enterprises in Scotts Valley, California in 2014.
Holt has posted several pictures with a young girl on his Facebook page. He was also convicted of a DUI in 2017.
Gualterio Lopez Contreras, 47, was charged in May 2014 with sodomy by use of force, sexual penetration by force, and continuous sexual abuse of a child.
He took a plea deal from Fresno county prosecutors, pleaded no contest to one count of a lewd or lascivious act with a minor in February 2016, and was sentenced to three years in Wasco State Prison.
But the court record says he was given credits of 790 days, which would leave just 305 days to serve, or less than a year.
A Megan’s Law record for Contreras from three years ago says he was released from prison in 2016. There is no longer a record for him in the current Megan’s Law database.
Mountain View resident Thierry Armand Costa, 61, was convicted in 2014 of lewd acts with an under-14 and using a minor to make child porn, but was released from prison the same year, according to the database.
His Santa Clara County court records say he was sentenced for the crimes in November 2013 but had two probation motions heard in his case in 2015. He also had a hearing to remove his records from the courts in October 2019.
According to his LinkedIn page, he worked as Vice President of Marketing for a software company in the Bay Area from 2010 until 2013, founded his own company GreenZone Security Software Inc between 2013 and 2015, and then got another VP Marketing role at ENENSYS Technologies in July 2015 – suggesting any prison time he served for the awful crimes was certainly over by 2015.
Like most states, California has a law requiring sex offenders to register their address with the Department of Justice, and to provide updates if they move house.
In 1996 the Clinton administration passed a law, named after a pedophile murder victim Megan Kanka, to require their information be published.
California’s Megan’s Law website, www.meganslaw.ca.gov, allows anyone to search for sex offenders, with details including name, age, residence, offenses, their mugshot, and the dates they were last convicted and released from prison.
DailyMail.com compiled the data of the 54,986 sex offenders who were listed on the website in July 2019 and analyzed the results.
It showed 41,794 (76%) committed offenses involving children.
DailyMail.com compared the published dates of these pedophiles’ convictions versus the year they were released from prison according to the Megan’s Law database.
The results showed that the average pedophile served two years and 10 months in prison.
LA attorney Dordulian said that was ‘surprisingly very low.’
‘In my days [in the LA DA’s office], we made every effort to get as long of a prison sentence as we could, because we knew that the minute they’re going to come out, they’re more likely to reoffend and another child’s gonna get harmed,’ he told DailyMail.com
The lawyer, who now represents victims of sexual abuse, pointed to policies backed by California Governor Gavin Newsom allowing for shortening of sentences to reduce the prison population.
‘With Newsom, they’ve passed a lot of legislation where they are allowing for resentencing, they’re allowing for people to come back and there’s a push to have less time spent in prison,’ Dordulian said.
‘That has been the push for the last at least five years: letting people out of prison much earlier than what their sentences were for.’
‘But these types of individuals, they’re not amenable to rehabilitation, and studies have shown that,’ he added. ‘They’re gonna harm another child.
‘It’s a very, very scary trend.’
According the US Justice Department, sex offenders are at least four times more likely than other criminals to be rearrested for a sex crime.
Some of the offenses committed by pedophiles in the Megan’s Law database were misdemeanors such as indecent exposure or attempting to send lewd pictures to children, and convicts received less jail time.
But the average time served for some severe and heinous crimes was similarly short.
The most common offense in the database was ‘lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age’, committed 19,441 times. Despite its severity, the average time served for this crime was just two years and 11 months.
And 7,152 pedophiles who committed this crime served less than a year.
Some 114 men who committed the even worse version of this offense, where the act against the under-14 child was ‘by force or fear’, ended up serving less than a year in prison, according to the data.
Others serving less than 12 months included 13 counts of aggravated sexual assault of an under-14 with intent to rape, three counts of kidnapping a child under 14 with intent to commit lewd or lascivious acts, five counts of assault with intent to rape an under-18, and two counts of pimping minors.
One child abuse prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office told DailyMail.com the situation was ‘a disgrace’.
Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami added that the problem of short prison time for pedophiles was getting worse, not better. He blamed Proposition 57, a 2016 bill allowing early parole for nonviolent felons which was supported by his boss, LA DA George Gascón.
‘Thousands of child victims are being denied justice and George Gascón and his group of radical prosecutors can care less,’ Hatami said.
‘The CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] is not even notifying the child victims and their families of these early releases. It’s shameful.
‘Furthermore, most of these sex offenders who are released early have not been rehabilitated whatsoever. This will clearly endanger our future generation of children and our entire community.
‘It’s a disgrace that the state of CA is not prioritizing the safety and well being of our children.’
DailyMail.com was unable to conduct the analysis for offenders added to the database since 2019, because the California Department of Justice has added digital blocks on its website to prevent new data being gathered and analyzed.
The department also refused to hand over a current copy of the database – which should be public under Megan’s Law – to DailyMail.com.
And after we contacted the CA DoJ asking about the shocking statistics, the search function was removed from the Megan’s Law website, which is administered by the department.
However, last week the website did show that there are currently 61,770 sex offenders listed across California’s 58 counties, an increase of 12% since 2019. It is unclear how many of them are pedophiles.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General said the issue was the responsibility of local DAs, courts, and state lawmakers.
‘Public safety is a top priority for the California Department of Justice,’ the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
‘It’s generally up to courts — in conjunction with locally elected DAs — to ensure the applicable statutes and sentencing guidelines are applied to cases based on the specific facts and circumstances. It’s largely up to legislators to enact those statutes.
‘Our office actively works with law enforcement across the state to protect our state’s children and families, whether that’s through conducting sting operations targeting sexual predators, issuing guidance to reduce harm to sexually exploited youth, or launching Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams.
‘Our state’s 58 district attorneys are on the front lines of enforcing criminal statutes to protect public safety on behalf of California’s nearly 40 million residents. Our office always stands ready to provide assistance, guidance, or oversight as necessary.’
New California Law Could Increase Risk of Child Sexual Abuse
The California Legislature has passed legislation that could pave the way for children to be subjected to sexual abuse or exploitation while their abusers suffer few consequences.
Senate Bill 145—which passed both the state Assembly and Senate, and Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed into law—ensures that adults will not automatically be placed on the sex offender registry even if they engage in sexual acts with minors aged 14 to 17, regardless of what kind of sex they had.
According to the law’s text, SB 145 will “exempt from mandatory registration under the act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.”
Under preexisting California law, a person convicted of a sex crime must register with law enforcement as a sex offender. The law currently treats cases of statutory rape differently: If a young adult and a minor have vaginal intercourse, judges can decide whether or not the convicted criminal winds up on the sex offender registry.
Previously, if the rape involved anal or oral sex, the judge did not have discretion and the convicted criminal had to be registered as a sex offender.
Essentially, SB 145 eliminates automatic sex offender registration for young adults who have anal or oral sex with a minor. Now, a judge will make the decision based on the facts of the case, just as they did in cases involving vaginal intercourse.
So, even though it is illegal in California for any adult to have sex with a person under 17, this law will require judges to take each case separately.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is the far-left lawmaker who introduced the legislation. In 2017, he co-sponsored a bill to remove the felony penalty for knowingly exposing another person to HIV.
His defense for the new law, which fails to protect minors, was under the guise of discrimination.
“Senate Bill 145 is an anti-discrimination law,” Wiener said in a tweet. “It ends discrimination against LGBTQ people on the sex offender registry. The bill has been the subject of a massive misinformation campaign.”
In an interview, Wiener used the example of two boyfriends who were 19 and 17 to illustrate his point. “But if it’s a 19-year-old boy having sex with a 17-year-old boyfriend, the judge must put that 19-year-old onto the sex offender registry, even if it was completely consensual, even if they were boyfriends, even if there was nothing coercive or predatory about it.”
Wiener’s example is, unfortunately, far too narrow. In an article at The Federalist on this topic, my colleague Chad Felix Greene pinpointed the biggest issue with the legislation.
“The problem is that it isn’t about teenagers having sex. It’s about adults exploiting minors sexually and being legally protected in doing so. What possible justification would there be for a 24-year-old to have sex with a 15-year-old of either sex?,” he said, adding:
“The rational answer, of course, is there is none. Rather than addressing this reasonable concern, however, left-wing and LGBT sites decided opposition was homophobic and hateful.”
While I don’t agree with some headlines that proclaimed Wiener’s bill will “legalize pedophilia,” the AP reported recently, the law does seem to offer cover, intentionally or not, for adults up to age 27 to have any kind of sex with someone age 17 (or a 24-year-old to have sex with a 14-year-old) without being labeled a sex offender.
“Any law that lessens protections for vulnerable children is a bad idea. There’s a word for adults who pursue sex with children: pedophiles,” James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement. “Any proposed legislation that gives incentive or cover for such depravity should be condemned, not passed into law.”
As a mother of four, I don’t think Dobson is overreacting.
It’s not clear why a politician should concern himself with what kind of sex any adults are having with minors and fabricate reasons to justify or lessen the punishment for this type of abuse.
It’s also unclear how a law like this, which weakens punitive measures against adults who would take advantage of young people sexually, is beneficial to anyone in California—regardless of whether it actually functioned as an anti-discrimination law.
Even under that premise, this law will surely damage teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, as adults of the same sex would be able to rape or abuse them and possibly avoid serious repercussions like being labeled as a sex criminal.
I’m disappointed California lawmakers passed the bill and that Newsom signed it into law. It fails to protect the state’s young people, while offering few benefits for the residents of California.
unicef.org, “Child rights and why they matter.”; apa.org, “Protecting our children from abuse and neglect.”; joannesconstantino.wordpress.com, “10 Reasons why we should protect children’s rights.” shouselaw.com, “Child Molestation Laws in California – 6 Key Things to Know.” By Anna Mashukova et al.; simmrinlawgroup.com, “WHAT IS CONSIDERED MISDEMEANOR CHILD MOLESTATION IN CALIFORNIA?”; dailymail.co.uk, “‘It’s frightening for society.’ Thousands of convicted pedophiles in California are being released from prison in less than a year for horrific acts, including rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of kids under 14, DailyMail.com investigation reveals.” By Josh Boswell; krcrtv.com, “California released 7,000+ child sex offenders after less than a year in jail, report says.” By Alec Schemmel; dailysignal.com, “New California Law Could Increase Risk of Child Sexual Abuse.” By Nicole Russell;
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