Recently, an acquaintance was arrested in California and charged with (1) suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, (2) sexual penetration with a foreign object and (3) sexual battery. He was released from county jail on $100,000 bail.
Subsequently, the district attorney did not pursue the last two charges and he was arraigned on the first charge, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.
He is scheduled for a preliminary pretrial conference soon. Someone I know with some legal experience says it is likely that the DA will try to arrange a plea bargain, getting him to plead guilty or no contest to a lesser charge with a suspended sentence and probation.
Some background: This man (I'll call him "Suspect/Stepfather") is the stepfather of a close family friend's three children, who live with him (and their mother - Suspect/Stepfather wife). Suspect/Stepfather also has three younger biological children, who also live with him. Obviously, we are concerned for the children's well-being.
Suspect/Stepfather was not accused of molesting his stepkids or bio-kids; rather, he is accused of inappropriate conduct with his friend's 14-year-old daughter. It is unknown exactly what he did, but apparently it involved inappropriate conversation and touching. We have not seen the police report yet, but our attorney obtained it and told us that Suspect/Stepfather did admit to being alone with the child, and admits to having a sexual conversation with her and "giving her a massage" or something to that effect.
The main question I have is, what type of plea deal is the DA likely to offer? Will it still be a felony, and will he still be required to register on the California sex offender list? What is a possible lesser charge that the DA may offer as part of the plea deal?
My secondary question involves the counter-accusations being made by Suspect/Stepfather and his wife. The wife is in total denial, defending her husband by accusing the victim's mother of being "crazy," "insane," "mental," "a psychopath," etc., and has said that the 14-year-old victim is "promiscious" and dresses like a "whore." The wife vigorously claims that the victim's mother made up the charges as revenge over unrequited love directed at her husband (Suspect/Stepfather). The wife claims she has e-mails that show that the victim's mother was in love with Suspect/Stepfather and wanted to have an affair with him. The wife says that the victim's mother's rebuffed advances were the motive for making up the child molestation charges.
Obviously, we don't believe a word that the wife says, but we're wondering if these counter-accusations will have any effect or sway on the district attorney who is prosecuting the charges.
Any advice or knowledge you have will be greatly appreciated!