Child Sex Crime Defense in Houston
Overview of Texas Child Sex Abuse Crimes
There are a number of state and federal laws that prohibit various types of sexual interaction with children. Some of the most commonly charged crimes include:
- Enticing a Child
- Indecency with a Child (Exposure or Contact)
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- Sexual Assault of a Child (Including Statutory Rape)
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child or Children
All of these acts are treated harshly by the justice system. Moreover, a person who is convicted or placed on deferred adjudication may be required to register as a sex offender for life. The failure to register is a felony offense, separate from the original crime.
What type of sexual conduct is prohibited?
- Contact with or penetration of the mouth or sexual organ of a child by a person or contact with or penetration of the mouth or sexual organ of a person by a child.
- Touching a child's body or having the child touch one's body, even through clothing, to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
- Exposing one's anus or genitals to a child or causing the child to expose their's to gratify the sexual desire of any person.
- Persuading or enticing a child away from its parent or guardian is also against the law.
Who is a child?
For most sex crimes in Texas, a child is a person younger than 17 years of age. There are very few exceptions. For example, it is a defense to some charges that the person is the spouse of the child at the time the alleged offense was committed or that the accused was not more than three years older than the victim at the time of the offense
and the encounter was consensual.
If a child is under 14 years of age, then what is otherwise a "Sexual Assault" of a child is filed as an "Aggravated Sexual Assault." That converts it from a second degree felony (2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000) fine into a first degree felony (5-99 years or life and up to a $10,000 fine).
What to do if I'm being Investigated for a child sex crime?
Assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Suspects, some of whom haven't done anything wrong, talk their way into sex crime convictions every day. Don't talk to the police other than providing your name and identifying information.
When you talk to the police you have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Then seek the advice of an experienced sex crime attorney. An experienced sex crimes attorney will be able to guide you, counsel you, and protect you.
CPS & the Children's Assessment Center Work With the Police
Many sex crime investigations are handled by agencies like Child Protective Services (CPS) or the Children's Assessment Center (CAC) who don't appear as law enforcement. Don't be fooled. They work very closely and often share offices with the police.
CPS caseworkers will often ask suspects to come in for an interview or give a voluntary statement. Because they don't look like police, suspects will talk. But talking to one of these people has the same effect as talking to the police. But, it's even more dangerous because they aren't bound by the same rules as the police.
Courts have held that because CPS is not a per se law enforcement agency and because the statements are generally given at a voluntary meeting, they are not required to give Miranda warnings or comply with other constitutional protections.
As a result, this is how many Houston area law enforcement agencies prefer to investigate and develop child sex cases. CPS calls a suspect and tells them that they want "to get your side of the story" or "find out what happened" and that their file is confidential.
Make no mistake; everything one says to CPS will be available to the prosecution. The Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination, to remain silent, can be asserted in any investigation.
CPS and police investigators often work at or hand-in-hand with the staff and others at the Children's Assessment Center "CAC." They even have offices there. Make no mistake, the investigators, therapists, doctors, and others at the CAC routinely testify in criminal trials against people like you. It is their job - look at their
website. If you are suspected of committing a sexual offence against a child, the CAC is NOT on your side.
You Won't Be Told the Truth
There is almost no requirement that law enforcement tell the truth to a suspect about anything. In fact, Police and Courts consider it a good investigative tactic not to.
Suspects have no right to know the truth about the allegations against them, what the police have been told, what they are doing, or what will happen. Only after they have been charged with a crime do they have a right to discovery. And even then, the State of Texas fights very hard to limit that right.
Police Polygraphs Are Often a Trap
Although the results are not admissible in court, police agencies routinely ask the targets of sex crimes investigations to take a polygraph or "lie detector test."
Why? It's an investigative tool to extract confessions. The police may tell someone they failed, even if they didn't, to try to trick them into confessing.
In their own reports, police often say "indicates deception" for failure or, and more importantly, "inconclusive" for passing. In other words, a suspect can't pass.
Police have so little confidence in polygraphs they won't consider as valid one done by anyone else.
But, independently administered polygraphs may be used to the advantage of an accused, particularly with a grand jury to avoid indictment.
Defending Child Sex Abuse Charges in Houston
If you are under investigation for, accused of, or charged with a child sex crime, the embarrassment, stress and intimidation you currently feel are only the beginning.
Charges can affect your family, relationships, and your job. The potential penalties can change the course of your life.
I don't handle a large volume of cases because my focus is on quality and personal attention. Part of my job is to counsel you through the darkest period of your life. My name is Tate Williams and I have represented people accused of child sex crimes for more than a decade, including through jury trial. Contact a Houston child sex crime attorney to discuss representation against child sex abuse charges.