Being falsely accused of a sex crime can be an enormously terrifying experience, especially if the alleged victim was a child. There can be many reasons why this might happen, from a vindictive ex-spouse seeking to gain an advantage in family court to an over-zealous therapist suggesting a repressed memory that wasn’t real to a rebellious, troubled stepchild acting out against discipline. Whatever the specifics of how you got charged, the penalties are potentially severe and life-changing, so you need to be sure you have strong representation from a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney.
There are several situations in which you can bring in evidence of your own good character into your criminal trial. For example, if you were on trial for a crime that involved fraud, lying or deception, you could put on proof that you had a reputation for truthfulness and honesty. However, what if you’re on trial for a child sex crime… can you use evidence of your past history of always conducting yourself appropriately around children? According to a recent Court of Appeals decision, yes, you can.
The defendant in that Court of Appeals case was a male teacher who allegedly sexually abused several female students. As part of his defense, the teacher sought to present testimony from other teachers and from parents of students. Those individuals’ testimony would all state that the defendant was a man who was frequently around children and who “behaves appropriately with children in his custody or care.”
The Court of Appeals said that this was an appropriate and generally admissible form of evidence. That’s because the law allows criminal defendants to use character evidence if the character trait about which the witness is testifying is pertinent to the crimes alleged.
Being allowed to put this kind of testimony before a jury may be absolutely critical to achieving justice, as the Court of Appeals correctly noted. If you are “an innocent teacher, coach, or other person occupying a position of trust who has been falsely accused of child sexual abuse, the ability to introduce opinion or reputation evidence from respected members of the community” about your appropriateness with children in your custody or care “may not only be relevant, but also crucial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.”
There are so many reasons why you might find yourself on trial as a result of a false allegation of child sex abuse. Perhaps you are dealing with an ex-spouse or partner who is pathologically bitter and vengeful. Maybe you’re a teacher who has encountered a dysfunctional child who is engaging in inappropriate attention-seeking or is trying to use a false allegation as “cover” for misconduct that the child him/herself engaged in. Whatever the reason, the consequences to you can be dire. That’s why it is so important that you don’t wait to retain the right attorney. Get the powerful defense representation you need by contacting the knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC. Our attorneys have been helping the accused in Maryland for many years and are ready to get to work for you. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.