Child molestation allegations can damage your reputation and personal relationships, and they can potentially lead to criminal charges. If you have been charged with a sexual offense against a child, the need for fair and unbiased proceedings is crucial. Having prosecuted child abuse cases as a former assistant district attorney, Nashville sex crime lawyer Bernie McEvoy can draw upon his insight to defend individuals accused of child molestation as well as child pornography and related crimes. He can provide advice to people who are facing criminal charges related to allegations of child sexual abuse throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties.Understanding Tennessee Child Molestation Laws
Tennessee criminal laws contain provisions for sexual offenses against children, including child molestation. Continuous sexual abuse of a child is a serious felony offense that occurs when a person engages in multiple acts of child sexual abuse. Under the Tennessee statute, this offense may occur in a few different situations. It involves engaging in three or more incidents of child sex abuse involving the same minor on separate occasions over a period of 90 days or more. The offense may be charged for one incident of sexual abuse with at least three children on separate occasions over a period of 90 days or more. It may also be charged for five or more separate incidents of sex abuse with at least two minor children within less than 90 days. In addition, a person may be prosecuted under the statute for incidents of child sex abuse under other circumstances, if they demonstrate a pattern of criminal activity against similar victims. Some examples are cases that involve victims related to the defendant by blood or marriage, or a defendant who is considered an authority figure, such as a parent, teacher, priest, or child care provider.
Sexual abuse is defined by the statute as a list of specific crimes against victims who are under the age of 18. These offenses include rape and aggravated rape, aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape by an authority figure, and other sexual abuse crimes. Since the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child encompasses other crimes, the state may charge a defendant with continuous child sex abuse as well as bringing individual charges against them for each incident alleged. However, the defendant may only be convicted of either continuous child sex abuse or one or more of the separate incidents of sex abuse. A criminal defense attorney can review the details to ensure that the defendant is not unfairly convicted twice for the same incident. In addition, a defendant convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child cannot be prosecuted in the future for the same individual incidents of sex abuse that constituted the offense presented at trial. It is important for the defense to investigate any prior sex abuse convictions of a defendant subsequently accused of child molestation to avoid double prosecution.
The range of sentencing for a conviction of continuous sexual abuse of a child varies with the circumstances of the particular case, the defendant’s criminal history, and the class of felony. Typically, penalties include prison time and fines. A conviction will also mean registering as a sexual offender in Tennessee. With these serious consequences at stake, developing a thorough and sophisticated defense strategy is essential to achieving a fair outcome.Retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Nashville Area
If you or a family member have been accused of child molestation, obtaining trustworthy legal advice will help you protect your rights. Nashville attorney Bernie McEvoy has substantial experience defending clients against complex sexual abuse charges, including child molestation cases. He can assist residents of Franklin, Nashville, and other communities throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. Call the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy at (615) 255-9595 during business hours or at (615) 804-8779 after hours, or submit our online contact form for a free consultation.