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    Question Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    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!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting yellowstonewolf
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    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!
    I'd imagine your lawyer (the one who mentioned the massage or something) would know the local DA over the case to such an extent he could make some informed guess. Barring that, you could ask the DA over the case what he think he'll do. He's in the best position to know what decisions he's made/making.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Really?

    Being charged for giving a back rub, you say?

    Really?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    I'm going to guess that the lewd and lascivious is probably already the low charge. They might take a max sentence off the table, but if they dropped the other two allegations, it only means that they could not substantiate them. It was more than a "backrub" if they initially went with penetration by a foreign object (which can be a digit of the hand, too).

    However, if the prosecution's case is not too strong, they might offer up another charge.

    Lewd and lascivious (PC 288(a)) is punishable by between 3 and 8 years in prison. The state MIGHT offer a plea to sexual battery (PC 243.4) which is a misdemeanor that holds a sentence range of up to 6 months. However, with a victim under 14, I would be very surprised if they took the lewd and lascivious charge off the table unless the state's case is weak.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    End of Watch: Deputy Danny Oliver

    End of Watch: Detective Michael Davis, Jr.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
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    I'm going to guess that the lewd and lascivious is probably already the low charge. They might take a max sentence off the table, but if they dropped the other two allegations, it only means that they could not substantiate them. It was more than a "backrub" if they initially went with penetration by a foreign object (which can be a digit of the hand, too).

    However, if the prosecution's case is not too strong, they might offer up another charge.

    Lewd and lascivious (PC 288(a)) is punishable by between 3 and 8 years in prison. The state MIGHT offer a plea to sexual battery (PC 243.4) which is a misdemeanor that holds a sentence range of up to 6 months. However, with a victim under 14, I would be very surprised if they took the lewd and lascivious charge off the table unless the state's case is weak.

    - Carl
    Thank you so much, cdwjava, this is helpful. Since this type of case is really just a "he said, she said" situation, I wonder what would make a case weak? From what I know of the case - which is from our attorney who read the police report - the alleged actions of Suspect/Stepfather are pretty serious - more than just a "back rub." I believe they include some breast and/or genital touching. (We're awaiting a copy of the police report which is being mailed to us - we live out-of-state.)

    In fact, the allegations were serious enough that a judge ordered that Suspect/Stepfather had to leave the family home and could not be around his children or stepchildren for the first month after the charges, then updated it to 4 hours of supervised visitation every other week. This will be revisited after his case is adjudicated soon.

    The biological father of Suspect/Stepfather's stepchildren is very concerned about his kids living in the household of this man if he is indeed guilty. So that is why we are very interested in the outcome of the case.

    I am wondering if Suspect/Stepfather will have to register on the sexual offender registry if he is only found guilty of a misdemeanor??

    Thank you again for your advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting yellowstonewolf
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    Thank you so much, cdwjava, this is helpful. Since this type of case is really just a "he said, she said" situation, I wonder what would make a case weak? From what I know of the case - which is from our attorney who read the police report - the alleged actions of Suspect/Stepfather are pretty serious - more than just a "back rub." I believe they include some breast and/or genital touching. (We're awaiting a copy of the police report which is being mailed to us - we live out-of-state.)

    In fact, the allegations were serious enough that a judge ordered that Suspect/Stepfather had to leave the family home and could not be around his children or stepchildren for the first month after the charges, then updated it to 4 hours of supervised visitation every other week. This will be revisited after his case is adjudicated soon.

    The biological father of Suspect/Stepfather's stepchildren is very concerned about his kids living in the household of this man if he is indeed guilty. So that is why we are very interested in the outcome of the case.

    I am wondering if Suspect/Stepfather will have to register on the sexual offender registry if he is only found guilty of a misdemeanor??

    Thank you again for your advice.
    So over the weekend this went from a back massage or something to genital/breast type action?


    I understand that you claim to be "awaiting" a copy; however, your attorney (so you say) has read the report. He can summarize, which he apparently did according to you, what's in the report. On the 25th, you said your lawyer said it was a back massage and a conversation.

    And over the weekend it's now suddenly breast/genital touching? This is quite a huge step up on the evolutionary scale of crimes.

    Since I still assume you're "awaiting" this copy of the police report (you said so), what happened over the weekend that changed your lawyer's rendition (a sexual conversation and a back massage - again, you said so) to this new version of events?

    A protective order isn't proof that this man actually did anything.

    Again, why can't you just ask your lawyer what's actually in the report? Then there won't be this need for thinking, or imagining or whatever. Have him fax over the relevant portions.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Ashman, the attorney may not be allowed to make copies of the report and provide them to the defendant. Our server's acting up, and so is the state's where I search for my code sections, but there is statutory law that limits what the defense attorney can provide to his client with regards to copies of the actual report. I can't find the section at the moment, but will post it when I find it.

    And, yes, Yellowstone, PC 243.4 IS subject to registration under CA state law pursuant to PC 290.

    I suspect that it is a little more than just her claiming that he touched her. Rarely, if there is NO corroborating evidence, statements, or activity, will the state pursue this beyond the preliminary hearing. If it is upheld and bound over at prelim, then I suspect the state has a decent case.

    EDIT: PC 1054.2 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no attorney
    may disclose or permit to be disclosed to a defendant, members of the
    defendant's family, or anyone else, the address or telephone number
    of a victim or witness whose name is disclosed to the attorney
    pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1054.1, unless specifically
    permitted to do so by the court after a hearing and a showing of good
    cause.


    So, it will be the contact info that cannot be provided to the defendant or anyone else.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    End of Watch: Deputy Danny Oliver

    End of Watch: Detective Michael Davis, Jr.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting ashman165
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    So over the weekend this went from a back massage or something to genital/breast type action?

    I understand that you claim to be "awaiting" a copy; however, your attorney (so you say) has read the report. He can summarize, which he apparently did according to you, what's in the report. On the 25th, you said your lawyer said it was a back massage and a conversation.

    And over the weekend it's now suddenly breast/genital touching? This is quite a huge step up on the evolutionary scale of crimes.

    Since I still assume you're "awaiting" this copy of the police report (you said so), what happened over the weekend that changed your lawyer's rendition (a sexual conversation and a back massage - again, you said so) to this new version of events?

    A protective order isn't proof that this man actually did anything.

    Again, why can't you just ask your lawyer what's actually in the report? Then there won't be this need for thinking, or imagining or whatever. Have him fax over the relevant portions.
    I'm a bit torn on whether to respond to this, because I was trying to be vague to protect everyone's privacy, and since cdwjava has given exactly the type of answer I was looking for, and I doubt you can provide any additional useful information... But since you're obviously trying to imply that I am just making this stuff up (which I have no idea why I would do on an anonymous message board) I guess I'll bite...

    ashman, what you are seeing as a discrepancy in my account is merely the difference between the victim's allegations ("breast/genital touching") and Suspect/Stepfather's admitted actions (sexual conversation and a massage) in the police report. Sorry that I was not more clear about that. (By the way, I never said "back massage," I said "massage" which IMO can be a child molester's way of justifying/excusing/covering up inappropriate touching.)

    The father of Suspect/Stepfather's stepchildren is my fiance (I said "family friend" earlier - intentionally vague to protect my identity). When my fiance learned of the charges* against Suspect/Stepfather, he contacted his attorney for advice and the attorney recommended filing for full custody. At the hearing, the judge ruled that Suspect/Stepfather could not be around the children and requested a copy of the police report to review at a follow-up hearing. At the next hearing, the police report was presented. My fiance's attorney got a copy and summarized it over the phone to my fiance, and my fiance then told me what the attorney told him. We are awaiting a copy of the police report in the mail from the attorney.

    So, to clarify: from what I know of the police report, the victim alleged inappropriate touching (breast and/or genital) and some very inappropriate sexual discussion (specifically, Suspect/Stepfather telling victim that he wanted to stick his thumb in her vagina, because that is what his wife likes; and possible other stuff, but that is the one quote that attorney related, and obviously it is very distinct and memorable). Also in the report, Suspect/Stepfather admits to being alone with the child, admits to the sexual conversation, and admits to some touching (I think dismissing it as a "massage").

    So hopefully, ashman, that clears it up for you.


    * About how we found out about the charges: Suspect/Stepfather's wife - mother of the children, did not tell my fiance (the children's father) about the charges. We discovered it in the crime section of a local newspaper, which described his arrest and the charges against him. We found the article after we Googled Suspect/Stepfather's name. Ok, I know what you'll be asking next - why did we Google his name? Well, call it a hunch, or woman's intuition... The children's mother was acting strange, and the kids were acting moody and sullen, and I had a hunch that something was going on in the home. Knowing that the mother has a long history of being secretive, dishonest, and not forthcoming, we Googled the guy's name and found this bombshell. Unfortunately in this case, my intuition that something was wrong in the household was correct. The scary thing is that if we hadn't found out ourselves, the mother would have undoubtedly NEVER had told us about it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting yellowstonewolf
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    But since you're obviously trying to imply that I am just making this stuff up (which I have no idea why I would do on an anonymous message board) I guess I'll bite...
    I think it was more about a perception of a changing story. When a person tries to obfuscate the truth - even for the noble purpose of concealing the identities of the involved parties - it is an untruth. Keeping the facts straight while telling an untruth is tough. There are hints and keys that come out in phrases that give away the fact that the truth is not being told ... it's more pronounced when done in person, but the "tells" are still present.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    End of Watch: Deputy Danny Oliver

    End of Watch: Detective Michael Davis, Jr.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Plea Bargain and Sentence for Accused Child Molester

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    I think it was more about a perception of a changing story.
    Yes I can appreciate that. The problem is, we're going on limited information, and I'm hearing it second-hand (or third-hand, from the attorney to my fiance to me), so I can see how it sounds muddled. They're my fiance's children, so I haven't spoken with the attorney personally. Unfortunately, we live in another state and cannot attend the hearing/trial, if there even is one (if he pleads out, there won't be a trial, right?) It doesn't help that the children's mother is not at all forthcoming with information, and it seems as though her own husband (Suspect/Stepfather) is not being entirely honest with her about what happened either. Apparently, she had not seen the police report herself until the custody hearing... and some of the information within it had not been shared with her by her husband (such as him admitting he talked about sex with the child and "massaged" her).

    That leads me to another follow-up question that I have - and I may post it in another forum here. If Suspect/Stepfather is convicted of either the felony lewd and lascivious charge or a lesser misdemeanor charge, will this bolster my fiance's case to gain primary physical custody of his three children?

    This is only the latest reason in a long series of reasons over the years why we feel the children are not doing well in their mother's home, and feel they would be better off with their father. Of course, the stepfather being suspected of child molestation is the straw that broke the camel's back, but not the only thing.

    Our attorney, of course, recommended we file to gain full custody (which I referenced above) but it's an ongoing matter. It will be reviewed once the stepfather is either convicted or acquitted. So, does anyone know anything about how a conviction might affect this custody case? Will a judge allow the stepfather to continue to live with the children? Is this cause for a judge to grant my fiance primary physical custody?

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