The need for a sex crime attorney is especially poignant for educators and childcare providers who’ve had charges brought against them.
If you’re a teacher or child care provider, needing to hire a sex crime attorney is especially significant: Your career is hanging in the balance. As if an allegation of sexual abuse isn’t enough to put your livelihood in jeopardy, a conviction will mean more than jail time; you’ll have to find a new line of work once you’ve finished paying your debt to society.
If you’ve already been charged, finding a competent sex crime attorney should be high on your to-do list. If, however, you’ve never been accused of such a crime, there are steps that you can take to avoid such charges being brought against you or, if they are, of having them stick.
1. Be cautious about any kind of contact.
Like the concept of “sexual harassment,” molestation is a blanket term that can be broadly interpreted. While some specifics under that blanket include clearly defiling acts, such as inducing sexual acts with minors and raping them, it also includes less clearly defined categories such as “the touching of private parts.” As much as possible, avoid touching minors altogether; if you do, try to reserve touching for the hands and then the shoulders and above. Any touching of the legs (particularly above the knee) or of the trunk of the body could be perceived as sexual in nature. Coaches who work with adolescents are particularly at risk for this kind of accusation.
2. Be as visible to others as possible.
Ideally, you should try to avoid being alone with children without another adult present; however, staffing needs don’t always afford this kind of luxury. At least, you should avoid being alone in any kind of private area with a single student. Especially if you need to touch a child in some way (for instance, when changing a diaper), make sure that you leave the door open or are behind a door with a sizeable window. If you need to enter a bathroom stall to help a child with hygiene, make sure to keep the stall door open. If a child is too old to be comfortable with the lack of privacy, the child’s parent should be called. If a medical need exists, contact a medical professional.
3. Be professional, all the time.
Adults who pursue careers in childcare or education typically enjoy spending time with children or adolescents. Regardless of your comfort level with those under your care, you need to remember that you are an adult and an authority figure, not a friend. Discussing your personal life or inviting them into your home or other private space opens you up to the potential for allegations. By keeping a professional distance from your students and maintaining appropriate relationships with them, you’ll do more than provide a superior education: You’ll avoid the potential for accusations of foul play.
Whether you’ve followed these steps in the past or have failed to be as cautious as you could be, once charges are brought against you, contacting a sex crime attorney should be your next step.