Tactful Kerrville Attorney on Your Side in Sexual Abuse Cases
Staunch defense of against highly sensitive sex-related charges in Texas
Sexual abuse is often confused with sexual assault, but in Texas, sexual abuse generally refers to incidents involving children. Such allegations draw media attention and public outrage. From the moment a sexual abuse allegation is made, your life will never be the same. If you are convicted, you face years or even life in prison, substantial fines and registration as a sex offender. If you have a business or professional license, you risk it being revoked. Even if you are exonerated, your reputation in your family and your community is damaged. With all this at stake, you need an attorney with the distinct skill set and focused knowledge to take on these complicated and sensitive cases. At the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C., I am a Texas-certified criminal attorney who will take great care to protect your legal rights.
How sexual abuse is defined in Texas
While sexual abuse includes sexual assault — an act of nonconsensual penetration — Texas law classifies other types of behavior involving children under 17 years old as sexual abuse. These include:
- Indecency with a child, defined as sexual contact (touching the child directly or through clothing with a sex organ with the intent of sexual gratification), engaging the child to perform such an act, exposing one’s sexual organs to a child or forcing the child to expose himself or herself
- Kidnapping, if committed with the intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually
- Burglary, if committed with the intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually
- Sexual performance by a child, defined as photos, videos or other visual representations of sexual conduct involving a child
- Human trafficking
- Compelling prostitution
Depending on the circumstances, these crimes may be second-degree felonies (punishable by two to 20 years in prison) or third-degree felonies (carrying two to 10 years in prison).
Committing two or more sexual abuse acts within 30 days of each other, involving one or more children 14 years of age or younger, may constitute the crime of continuous sexual abuse. This crime is a first-degree felony and a conviction is punishable by five years to life in prison.
Common scenarios of alleged sexual abuse
Allegations of sexual abuse of children are often made against adults who have authority over them, including parents, siblings, extended family members, teachers, daycare workers, babysitters, clergy, coaches and healthcare providers. These relationships involve private settings where abuse can take place without witnesses present. Unfortunately, they also create the opportunity for uncorroborated allegations to be made. When facing charges based on the testimony of a child, a careful investigation must be undertaken to discover what alternative explanations are credible and how to proceed with a strong defense that does not appear to vilify the accuser.
Defending against sexual abuse charges
As a certified and long-time criminal law attorney, I understand how best to conduct an investigation into sexual abuse allegations and to develop a workable strategy for your defense.
I work hard for reduction or dismissal of charges and to provide a defense that will preserve your freedom. Not knowing that a victim was a minor is not a defense to a sexual abuse charge, but there are other ways to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. These include looking for any motivation from the child or parents behind the charges, hiring child abuse and mental health experts and developing an alibi if appropriate. I also strive to minimize the damage to your reputation and livelihood that can result from a conviction.
Contact a board-certified criminal defense lawyer if you face sexual abuse charges in Texas
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for any sexual abuse charges, I can provide a solid, well-prepared defense based on my years of courtroom experience. Call the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. at 844-337-5819 for a free consultation, or contact my Kerrville office online.