In Georgia, the charge Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes occurs when someone solicits, entices, or takes a child under the age of 16 years to any place for the purpose of child molestation or to commit some other indecent act. Think of a case where a child accuses someone of taking them to a house to engage in sexual conduct. And to be clear, no sexual contact is necessary to prove this very serious charge which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years, a maximum sentence of 30 years, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
What Does it Mean to "Entice a Child for Indecent Purposes?"
In order to secure a conviction, the State has to prove the client took the child with the intent to commit child molestation or some other indecent act at the time of the taking (as opposed to a time after the taking had been accomplished). They also have to prove asportation, which simply means the child has to be “moved” even if just slightly, and the taking has to be accomplished either through physical force, enticement, or persuasion. As with any sex offense in Georgia, these charges are very serious, carrying a 30-year maximum sentence. Oftentimes, our clients come to us with these charges stemming from false allegations, and we handle them as we would any sex case involving false allegations. We take the offensive.
It’s amazing how easily these serious and life-altering allegations can be made, and even more surprising is how quickly and strongly law enforcement believes these false allegations. Law enforcement is trained to believe the accuser and to discount or justify any problems with their story. They are trained to take a child’s statement in a certain way, in a certain setting, in order to minimize any possible inconsistencies in a child statement. Police willingly and purposefully look past outrageous stories, stories with inconsistencies, stories that are illogical or physically impossible, and stories where there are obvious motivations to fabricate.
What to Do When You Are Accused
Unfortunately, for many of our clients, the unchallenged and unexamined word of the accuser is enough to get them charged. Just an accusation alone is enough to stop your life in its tracks. Law enforcement cares only about making out a case against you. They believe the accuser, and they want to make their case and make sure you are charged, arrested, and convicted.
My approach in these cases is to take the offensive immediately and focus on the investigation. We need to gather any and all evidence we can use to either attack the credibility of the accuser or explain possible motivations for making false allegations. You cannot afford to sit back and wait for the State to decide your future, or you’ll find your reputation in tatters and yourself in prison.
How We Build a Defense for Our Clients
The first question a DA or a jury will want answered: Why would a child make up these kinds of allegations? You’d better be able to answer that question. And in these cases, that means focusing our investigation on the accuser’s family and friends as well. In no other type of criminal charge do the accuser’s family members play such a pivotal role as there are often varying levels of family dynamics at play in these types of cases, different and competing motivations that lead to false allegations. Our investigation will focus on obtaining DFACS records, school records, medical records, computer records, cell phone records, mental health records, and information from social networking sites. We’ll talk to witnesses, including those who may not know anything about the present allegations but can also shed light on possible motivations to make false allegations or are helpful in attacking the credibility of the accuser. These witnesses can be neighbors, co-workers, relatives, acquaintances, or classmates of the accuser.
False allegations must be defended aggressively and with an understanding of multiple disciplines. I have defended cases where we have convinced police officers, detectives, DFACS workers, district attorneys, judges, and even juries that a child’s allegations aren’t worthy of belief. Oftentimes, there are other issues at play with a child’s false allegation. Domestic disputes involving divorce, child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony, and division of property can often be the motivation behind false allegations of child molestation. Sometimes children with behavioral, developmental, or disciplinary issues falsely accuse others of child molestation for sympathy, attention, or deflect from something they’ve done. Improper or inadequate training of police, investigators, therapists, or medical personnel can fail to reveal when a child has made false allegations. In the worst of cases, improper or inadequate training can actually create the false accusation. Our criminal defense team has extensive experience with these issues and understands what to look for when reviewing and investigating these claims.
Rules of Evidence Differ When Children Are Involved
These cases are unique. They involve their own rules of evidence which leads to specialized pretrial motions practice. Normally, absent a specific exception, hearsay is not allowed in a jury trial. However, in an Enticing a Child case, the Child Hearsay statute allows the prosecution to introduce hearsay statements made by a child under the age of 16. This specific rule of evidence has actually affected how law enforcement investigates these cases. In every case, the police will send the child for a forensic interview that is typically conducted by a therapist of the investigating officer (depending on the jurisdiction) at a Child Advocacy Center.
The statement given during this interview will become the key piece of evidence in the case. It will be relied upon by law enforcement to secure an arrest warrant and by the district attorney to prove their case at trial. You need an attorney who’s familiar with this type of interview and the specific training the interviewer has received to analyze and attack not only the statement but also the interview itself. For example, a poorly trained interviewer will tend to use improper techniques that lead to suggestive questions and, as a result, false allegations by the child. Very often, it’s these false allegations from a suggestive interview that lead to people being arrested and charged.
In order to combat these types of investigative techniques, we work with leading experts in the field of forensic interview techniques. This allows us to analyze every statement with an eye towards finding improper interview techniques, suggestive questioning, and as a result, the false allegations and then educate the district attorney, or a jury, in order to demonstrate the unreliability of the statement itself.
Our Aggressive Approach Protects Our Clients' Rights
Our criminal defense team’s approach of immediately going on the offensive allows us to leverage every possible opportunity and, depending on when we come into a case, to prevent a client from being arrested, avoid indictment, or resolve a client’s case in a way in which they can avoid incarceration or from having to register as a Georgia Sex Offender. However, with these types of charges, it’s not always possible to avoid trial.
Once a trial becomes necessary, our team defends our client with preparation that leaves no stone unturned, our proven persuasive techniques in the courtroom, and the most skilled investigators and the most trusted experts. These cases involve specialized trial preparation strategies, especially concerning the picking of a jury. We use jury consultants and focus groups to maximize our understanding of the case’s strengths and weaknesses and sharpen our focus regarding the type of juror we want. Our clients don’t deserve any less.
Our clients have included teenagers, corporate executives, teachers, grandparents, stepparents, and coaches. Each client and each case is different, presenting their own challenging sets of facts, but our criminal defense team’s approach and commitment to protecting our clients remain the same.
If you or a loved one has been charged with Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes, you need to contact an experienced and dedicated Atlanta Sex Crime Lawyer today. Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes charges can be life-altering and inflict permanent damage to a persons’ life, liberty, career, and reputation.
Get the Information You Need to Start Fighting Back Today
Contact us so we can begin to develop your defense and start working to help you get your life back as soon as possible. Criminal charges are always serious, but allegations of a sex crime are a potentially life-altering event in a person’s life. Typically, criminal charges do not define one’s life, but Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes is the type of charge that will alter your life forever. Right now, the DA’s office is working on your case, and in their version, you end up a convicted child sex offender.