Don’t Talk to Law Enforcement
Video Transcribed: What to Do if You Are the Subject of an Accusation of Sexual Abuse of Your Child. So guys, let me paint a picture for you. This is a worst-case scenario, every good father’s nightmare. You get a phone call from your child’s mother, or worse from DHS or law enforcement, informing you that your child has accused you of touching them inappropriately. You know you didn’t do it. What do you do? That’s terrifying.
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am an Oklahoma fathers’ rights attorney with dads.law, and I want to talk a little bit about what to do if you are the subject of an accusation of sexual abuse of your child. I’m going to talk about this from the standpoint of assuming you didn’t do it, although some of these tips if you did do something inappropriate would still apply, this is mostly from the family law side.
Now, the first thing you’d want to do is shut your mouth and if you get a call from law enforcement, don’t talk to law enforcement. No good is going to come from that but there are plenty of ways you can jam yourself up, so don’t talk to law enforcement. If it’s your child’s mother, that calls with an accusation like that, the best advice is again, shut it.
This is probably not something you’re going to talk your way out of and you could make a misstep that gets used against you later in court. If you get a call from DHS, it is in your best interest to cooperate to a point with DHS, but not to the extent that you’re going to open yourself up to being potentially criminally charged.
The next thing you want to do is get a good lawyer involved and you want to tell them as much detail as you can about what the allegation is, if there’s a specific date and time referenced, you want to provide as much information about that as possible to your lawyer.
Now, we are under an ethical obligation to keep our mouths shut, so anything tell us is between you and your lawyer and it’s not going to come out in court later.
There’s, generally speaking, no way to get at that information through legal process. It can’t even be used in a criminal court. You can talk to your lawyer safely and you want to provide as much detail as possible, if there’s a specific incident being referenced, provide as much detail as possible. That’s one way we can potentially clear up the allegation.
Two, obviously don’t talk to the child who allegedly made the allegation about the allegation. One, you don’t want to be accused of intimidating the child or otherwise trying to influence their story, and two, it just muddies the water, it’s not going to help you.
If you are allowed to talk to the child, stay off that subject. If the child confronts you with an allegation, then my best advice would be to change the subject, don’t get in an argument with them, it’s not in your best interests.
Now, if there is a serious allegation, your attorney will most likely look into doing a forensic evaluation of the child to try to get at the validity of the allegations. That may or may not play out in your favor but if you really are innocent, then if you get a good forensic evaluator, they should be able to ascertain that.
With older children, the deposition could potentially be an option. Again, a way to poke holes in the story. If it came through mom, you probably want to have your lawyer depose mom and find out how it came out, what were the circumstances, and all of that to see if you can get at what, if any, role mom might have had in producing that statement.
If it does turn into a criminal matter, it’s important, again, don’t talk about it with law enforcement. You’re not talking your way out of a felony charge, but you could damn well talk your way into one. You definitely need a lawyer at that point, because you’re talking about a major felony more than likely and these are the kind of felonies that put guys in prison for a lengthy stint if it goes bad, so if it does go criminal, you definitely need a good lawyer.
If DHS wants to talk to you about that kind of an allegation, have a lawyer there. Do not talk to them alone because they are not there to keep your secrets. They will report it back to the district attorney’s office and if you make incriminating statements to a DHS worker, it could jam you up like you wouldn’t believe.
One last tip I’m going to give you because I’ve seen this happen a few times in cases involving allegations of child abuse, if the DHS worker wants to speak with you in the presence of law enforcement, do not agree to that.
You need a lawyer and you need a lawyer to step up and say, “Look, we’ll cooperate with DHS, but there will be no law enforcement present for that interview.” If you need a good lawyer, one place you can go is dads.law where fathers are not disposable