Did you know that one third of all child sex abuse is performed by kids in their early teens — usually boys up to 15 years old?
Did you also know that just 2-3 percent are likely to be convicted of a second offense?
These statistics show why leniency is needed for juvenile sex offenders. In fact, child sex crimes researcher Elizabeth Letourneau concludes that today’s laws poorly reflect the true nature of many child sex offenses and do little to prevent future child sex abuse.
Letourneau is Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, the venerable research institution in Baltimore, MD.
She concludes that current laws — sparked by emotion more than reason after public outrage over highly publicized sex crimes — unfairly punish children who instead need supervision and intervention.
Overreaching child sex crime laws include a provision added to 2006’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). It subjects juvenile offenders below age 18 to sex offender registration for abusing other children.
Letourneau’s research on child sex crimes finds that laws like this are misguided and wrong. She says imprisoning or registering juvenile sex offenders rather than educating them does nothing to enhance community safety but rather raises the risk of future crimes from occuring.
Letourneau says it’s wrong to “focus nearly all our efforts on punishment” instead of “focusing on prevention.”
“We know that incarcerating or detaining children, even briefly, reduces the likelihood that they’ll graduate from high school and increases the likelihood they will commit more crimes,” says Letourneau. “My research shows that sex offender registration and public notification do nothing — nothing — to prevent juvenile sexual offending or improve community safety in any way. Instead, these policies cause harm.”
Here at the Neal Davis Law Firm, our experienced Houston sex crime defense lawyers couldn’t agree more with Letourneau. We work diligently to provide our clients a defense against child sex crime charges in Harris County, Montgomery County and Fort Bend County.
Sometimes that means arguing for deferred adjudication. This means an offender pleads no contest or guilty before trial in exchange for agreeing to and following a course of action, such as probation. Juveniles who take this option become “adjudicated delinquents.”
However, such juveniles must register as a sex offender for 10 years. And though prison is avoided, sex offender registration can be very damaging.
Texas is one of just 10 states which require placing juveniles on public sex offender registries when teens commit sex offenses against other minors.
How widespread is this problem?
In just one recent year, 3,600 juveniles in Texas were required to register with local law enforcement officials and placed on Texas’ registry for sex offenders.
Don’t let your child become one of them. Contact our law firm today to seek a vigorous defense against child sex crime charges.
One way we can accomplish this is by convincing a judge in juvenile court to use his or her discretion in ruling that the offender needn’t register as a sex offender. The judge could order the youth to attend counseling sessions and then decide if he or she must register as a sex offender.
Let us fight this legal battle for you and your family. Your child’s future may depend on it.
Contact us today for a confidential legal review of your child’s case.