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Accusations of child abuse may taint procedural justice

Even though many child abuse cases go to trial because of false allegations, an individual facing such accusations may experience repercussions at home and in the workplace, irreparable damage to his or her reputation, and even unfair treatment by the justice system.

A recent story poignantly illustrates this unfair treatment. A father allegedly caught an acquaintance attempting to molest his 4-year-old daughter at a social gathering. The alleged attempt occurred after the girl went inside the family's home during the gathering. The father was apparently so overcome that he punched the man in the head until the man died. However, local sheriff's deputies refuse to file charges against the father.

Even the criminally accused are guaranteed certain procedural protections under the law. Yet in this case, local authorities are acquiescent towards a father who administered his own brand of capital punishment to a man who had not been charged -- let alone tried -- of any criminal charge.

There's a chance that justice may still be served in this matter, as the results of the investigation will be submitted to the local district attorney and then on to the grand jury. It will be up to the grand jury to decide whether or not to bring charges against the father. The sheriff's office is reportedly prepared to defer to whatever the grand jury decides.

State officials may launch a child abuse investigation for many reasons, including shaken babies, a failure to thrive, child pornography in the home, children being present when domestic abuse occurs, or even because a parent is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. At a time like that, you need an attorney on your side that will ensure you receive all available procedural protections and help you prepare your best defense.

As this story illustrates, it may be difficult for someone facing allegations of child abuse or neglect to receive fair treatment under the law. Yet before the outcome of the trial is even received, such an individual will likely also have to respond to intervention by a state agency regarding a child protection petition. An attorney can help you comply with the state's requests for information, interviews and all other requirements.

Source: Huffington Post, "Father Allegedly Kills Man Who Molested His Daughter, Texas Cops Say," Andy Campbell, June 11, 2012

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