Lewd Acts with a Minor: Signs of Abuse as Evidence (PC 288(a))
Lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under California Penal Code Section 288(a) is a complex crime. In many cases, the evidence against the defendant is merely the word of the alleged victim. In these he-said/she-said cases, the prosecution will often point to “signs of abuse” as evidence.
What are these signs of abuse and how important are they in a lewd acts with a minor case?
Elements of Lewd Acts with a Minor Under PC 288(a)
In order to convict you of committing lewd acts with a minor under PC 288(a), the prosecution must prove:
- You purposely touched a child’s body, either on the bare skin or through the clothing; OR
- You purposely caused a child to touch his/her own body, your body, or someone else’s body, either on the bare skin or through clothing; AND
- You “committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of yourself or the child; AND
- The child was under the age of 14 years at the time of the touching
What are Signs of Abuse?
In cases involving lewd acts with a minor, there is sometimes physical evidence that the action took place and that the defendant was involved in the crime. Physical evidence is something that the jury can observe with their own senses, such as a video or marks on the skin.
However, in PC 288(a) cases where physical evidence is not enough to prove all of the required elements of the crime, the prosecution could turn to signs of abuse. Signs of abuse are indications that the child suffered abuse, usually observed through the child’s behavior. This could include:
- Sexual behavior with toys or objects
- Insomnia and/or nightmares
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Mood swings, including outbursts of anger
- Regression to childhood behaviors, such as bedwetting
- Loss of appetite
- Fear of being alone with a certain person or people
So how can an attorney defend you if the prosecution attempts to show that these signs of abuse prove you committed a lewd or lascivious act on a child?
Our sex crime attorneys at Wallin & Klarich attempt to show the jury that these behaviors are not always directly related to sexual abuse. These signs are commonly associated with traumatic events in a child’s life, such as a divorce between his or her parents, issues with other students or teachers at school, or a death of family member, friend or pet. Your attorney can cast doubt on these “signs of abuse” by showing that there are other plausible explanations for changes in a child’s behavior.
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Right Away
If you are facing charges of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a minor, the best thing you could do is contact a skilled sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, we have over 35 years of experience successfully defending people facing lewd acts on a minor charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.