Anne-Marie P., a juvenile, was charged one count of first degree sodomy, two counts of first degree sexual abuse, two counts of third degree sexual abuse and one count of sexual misconduct. These crimes were allegedly committed against Megan H., who was six years old at the time she testified. The court was satisfied in her ability to offer sworn testimony. The case went to trial in Family Court.
Megan testified that the juvenile defendant pulled down her pants and penetrated her vagina using her fingers. She also stated that the defendant put her mouth on her breasts and touched her behind. According to the victim, she attempted to escape the room where the inappropriate sexual contact took place. She also said she did not give Anne-Marie P. permission to do these things.
Megan also testified that she had seen the defendant place her mouth on her brothers’ penises. Cross-examination revealed that Megan had told her mother what happened as well as the detective who took her statement. Reportedly, she could not remember the date or time the inappropriate sex acts took place. She also said that incidents similar to the ones she described had never happened to her friends and she had never seen anything so portrayed on television.
The girl’s mother, Cathy H. testified that Megan told her about the incidents. Reportedly, the defendant had been babysitting the victim and her brothers on the night of August 5, 1985. Cathy H. asked the defendant about the events Megan described but the juvenile denied the allegations. When Megan’s father came home from a business trip on August 8, 1985, the couple contacted police about the criminal incident.
Anne-Marie P. testified that she did babysit for Megan and her brothers on the date in question. She denied any of the claims regarding sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual touching involving the minor children. Her attorney then raised the issue of whether Family Court was the proper venue for her case.
According to her testimony, Megan H. lived in Nassau County, which is where the events occurred. The defendant also acknowledged that she was babysitting the children in their home, which had a Nassau County address. As such, the court agreed that there should be no dispute over the jurisdiction. Furthermore, it was also acknowledged that the defendant testified to being 14 years of age, which also supports the case being heard in Family Court.
Anne-Marie’s representatives also argued that there was no circumstantial evidence to support a conviction. Under Penal Law 130.16, corroboration was not a requirement in order to prove consent in sex offense cases involving underage children. The court found that the victim’s testimony was credible and consistent and by itself, established proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged sex abuse had occurred. Following this conclusion, the court upheld the charge of first degree sexual abuse but dismissed the other counts based on a lack of evidence. The court referred the case to the Nassau County Probation Department for a complete investigation, including a psychiatric and psychological evaluation of the juvenile defendant.
As evidenced by this case, sex crimes do not always involve an adult committing a sexual offense against a minor child. In some cases, another child may be the perpetrator of lewd acts or sexual abuse. Fortunately, the juvenile’s parents hired an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect her rights.
If you or your child has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor, sodomy or another crime involving sex acts with a child, you also need to speak with a New York criminal defense attorney right away. The law firm of Stephen Bilkis and Associates specializes in defending the rights of individuals who’ve been charged with a serious sex offense. Call 1-800-NY-NY-LAW today or stop by one of our New York area offices to discuss your case. Don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need to defend yourself against a sex offense charge.