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A divisive case of child abuse and parental rights launches to the Supreme Court


A question of individual rights regarding a child who was rumored to have been allegedly sexually abused by her father has caused great controversy in the courts and between different interest groups

In 2003 in the state of Oregon, a nine-year-old girl was suddenly removed from her public school classroom by a child protection investigator who was accompanied by a deputy sheriff. Operating under presumed intelligence that the young girl had been sexually abused by her father, the two men interrogated her for a period of approximately two hours and sought confirmation that she had in fact been sexually abused. A New York Criminal Lawyer reports that allegedly, the young girl finally confirmed their suspicions; however, at a later date she confessed that she had only given the two men an affirmation because she was afraid and wanted to escape the interrogation.

The father of the girl was arrested, but later released when charges were dropped in regards to this specific case. However, it seems that the father agreed to a plea deal that involved a different charge of sexually assaulting a minor. In response to the interrogation by the deputy and child protection investigator, the family of the young lady filed a lawsuit, which was heard in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in San Francisco. A Bronx Criminal Lawyer notes that the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, following an appeal by the state of Oregon.

A Bronx Sex Crime Lawyer commented that the divisive nature of this issue is evident by the claims made on both sides. Those who support the actions of the deputy sheriff and child protection investigator, such as the state of Oregon and certain child advocacy groups, make the claim that such an action should be allowed. They argue that the protection of the child is the most important factor, not the authority of the parents and the privacy of the family. Those who oppose the interrogation of the girl, such as the Family Research Council and the family themselves, argue that while the best interest of the child is definitely important, the repercussions of future “interrogations” and acts of government-sanctioned family separation have the potential for great abuse. A major concern seems to be: if this landmark case results in greater freedom for authorities to engage children without the knowledge of the parents, then conceivably arbitrary reasons for investigation would endanger the child and unnecessarily undermine the sanctity of the nuclear family.

Such landmark cases as this, which made headway in the Supreme Court, have a special importance. In the future, it may be that such cases become more common, due to the attention shown this one.

Sex crimes are complicated offenses, particularly when a child is the victim. Often the alleged perpetrator is a family friend or relative, which causes even more shock and pain for those involved. Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime, these charges carry with them an emotional stigma, which creates very real challenges for the accused. The accused may experience difficulties with personal relationships, and problems with housing an employment.

If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The sooner you seek the guidance of qualified counsel, the better your chances are for a positive outcome in your case.

Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates for advice and guidance. We will provide you with a free consultation, so call us today at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW.

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