Touching a Child Anywhere Can Be Child Molestation under PC 288(a)
Most people assume that child molestation only occurs when a person touches a child’s genitals, buttocks or breast area with a sexual purpose. However, the crime of child molestation is much broader than that.
Under California Penal Code Section 288(a), it does not matter what part of the child’s body you allegedly touched. You can be charged with child molestation if you touched any part of a child’s body.
The Elements of Lewd or Lascivious Acts Involving a Minor (PC 288(a))
In order to be convicted of committing lewd or lascivious acts involving a minor (or “child molestation”) under PC 288(a), the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You purposefully and willfully touched a child’s body either on the bare skin or through the clothing; OR you caused a child to touch his or 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 your lusts, passions or sexual desires or that of the minor victim; AND
- The victim was under 14 years of age at the time of the touching
Touching on the Body
Look closely at the first element listed above. Notice that the words “genitals,” “buttocks” and “breasts” are not included in this element. The prosecution need only prove you touched a part of the child’s body, or that you caused the child to touch any part of your body, his or her own body or another person’s body.
Therefore, you can be convicted of this crime if you touched a child anywhere as long as you did so for sexual purposes. This means that rubbing a child’s shoulders or giving the child a hug could lead to you facing serious criminal charges.
Does this mean that all touching of a minor is a crime? Of course not. The touching must be committed while you harbored a sexually motivated intent, which can be difficult to prove. Remember, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements to secure a conviction. However, you should avoid unnecessary contact with minors if you are in a position where your intent could be misinterpreted.
Contact the Child Molestation Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you know has been accused of the serious criminal charge of child molestation, you should contact an experienced child molestation attorney immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable sex crimes defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients accused of child molestation for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich child molestation attorney available to help near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our sex crimes defense law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will be there when you call.