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Although most parents don’t realize it, juveniles account for more than one-third (35.6 percent) of those known to police to have committed sex offenses against minors. Of those prosecuted, more than 25% of sex offenders are minors.
The number of children coming to the attention of police for sex offenses increases sharply at age 12 and plateaus after age 14. In fact, early adolescence is the peak age for offenses against younger children. Boys are more likely to be accused of these crimes than girls.
The allegations in these types of cases vary from “playing doctor” purely out of curiosity, to crimes of violence that cause physical harm to the younger child. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system has a hard time distinguishing between these types of offenses.
Attorneys for Juveniles Sexual Offenses in Tallahassee, FL
We represent juveniles charged with committing sexually motivated crimes against younger children. Once an allegation is made, you should not let your child speak to anyone about the allegation until AFTER you have retained a criminal defense attorney to represent the child. The child has a right to remain silent under the 5th amendment and a right to the assistance of counsel under the 6th amendment. Especially in these types of cases, it is important for the child to exercise these rights.
An attorney can help your child either fight the charges or find the specialized treatment programs (often called “sex offender treatment” programs). In many of these cases, the prosecutor will agree to divert the case away from the court if the child seeks the appropriate treatment. An experienced juvenile defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL, can help the child understand the best way to resolve the case while protecting the child from a criminal record that could follow them for a lifetime.
Call an attorney at Pumphrey Law to discuss your case. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are experienced in helping children find the best solution to resolve the case. The attorneys will fight to protect the child and help the child understand the consequences of the action so that no future violations occur. When it comes to selecting a treatment program, the attorneys at Pumphrey Law can help you make the best choice.
In these types of difficult cases, let us put our experience to work for you. Call (850) 681-7777 today.
Studies on Juvenile Sex Crimes
Prior to 1985, there were only a handful of published research articles on juvenile sex offenders. Today, however, that number has jumped to more than 200. Because most offenses described in the clinical literature involve teenage offenders acting alone with young children as victims, most of the specialized intervention systems are designed with this type of behavior in mind.
As more federal and state grant money is thrown at the issue, law enforcement officers throw a wider net catching more children rather than dealing more appropriately with the most serious cases.
The Prosecution of Juvenile Sexual Offenses in Tallahassee, Leon County, FL
In Tallahassee, FL, and throughout Leon County, law enforcement officers and prosecutors have been quick to identify and intervene with such youth. Local law enforcement agencies, including the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office conduct extensive training to investigate these types of cases. Also, more training and resources are given to child protection staff, educators, prosecutors and probation officers.
These resources help ensure an effective and sensitive response to juvenile sex offenders. Just within the last few years, more resources have been allocated to establish specialized treatment programs for juvenile sex offenders and children with sexual behavior problems. Juvenile sex offender treatment programs saw a 40-fold increase between 1982 and 1992.
The Different Types of Accusations against Juveniles Sex Offenders in Florida
The types of allegations against children accused of sex offenses vary widely. Offenses can involve a single event or a few isolated events.More serious accusations involve a large number of events with multiple victims over a longer time period. Sexually motivated offenses prosecuted in juvenile court include:
Lewd or lascivious molestation;
Lewd or lascivious conduct;
Lewd or lascivious exhibitionism; and
As far as the types of acts committed, the most common accusations against younger children can involve:
sharing pornography with younger children;
fondling a child over the clothes; or
grabbing peers in a sexual way at school.
When younger children and pre-teens engage in this behaviors, it is often classified as “children with sexual behavior problems.” Among preteen children with sexual behavior problems, a history of sexual abuse is particularly prevalent. In many of these cases, the child is by investigators as both a victim and an offender.
More serious accusations against older children involve sexting pictures between teenagers (sometimes considered to be “pornography”), date rape, gang rape, or performing oral, vaginal, or anal sex on a much younger child. Clinical studies also underscore a diversity of future risk and behaviors that depend on the child’s age, the accusation, the number of times the act occured, and a host of other factors.
Do Juvenile Sex Offenders Have to Register in Florida?
A juvenile sexual offender is required to register in Florida if his or her qualifying sexual offense was resolved in juvenile court with an adjudication of delinquency after July 1, 2007, and if the child was 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense. Of course, if the juvenile was convicted as an adult for a qualifying sexual offense and meets the criteria in Florida Statute 943.0435 or 775.21, then the juvenile must register as an adult sexual offender or predator.
The goal in many of these cases is avoiding any possibility that the juvenile will be required to register as a sex offender in Florida. In some cases, the child’s criminal defense attorney will seek a stipulation concerning the time of the offense so that it can clearly be established that the offense occurred when the juvenile offender was less than 14 years of age. In other cases, the prosecutor will amend the charge to a nonqualifying offense.
Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors
Visit the Criminal Justice Bulletin to learn more about juveniles who commit sex offenses against other minor children. Although research on juvenile sex offenders goes back more than half a century; little information about these young offenders and their offenses exists. To help the public understand these types of accusations and the ways they are prosecuted within the juvenile justice system, this Bulletin draws on data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System to provide population-based epidemiological information on juvenile sex offending. The Bulletin was prepared under a cooperative agreement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice.
Attorney for Juvenile Sex Crimes in Tallahassee, FL
After a child is accused of a sexually motivated crime, contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in these types of cases. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have represented children of all ages in juvenile court. We understand the issues that come up in these cases and what the parent and child need to do at each stage in the process.
After a serious accusation, contact a juvenile defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL. We represent children in Leon County, FL, and all of the surrounding counties.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.