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Help, My Ex Is Alleging Sexual Abuse in Our Divorce!

Unfortunately Northern Kentucky has seen a rise in allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while couples are in the midst of a divorce.  It is a very difficult area for the attorney as well as the judges involved.  The judges primary role is to protect the chidlren; this obviously is also met with the protection of civil rights.  Domestic practitioners often involve a separate criminal defense attorney to aid and co-counsel the case, wherein one attorney handles the domestic or divorce side and the other attorney will handle the criminal aspects of the investigation and any charges which may come forth.  This often allows both attorneys to retain their independence, but also requires the attorneys to cooperate and work together toward a common goal. With the increase of joint custody and shared parenting in a dissolution, it has become more difficult for parents to distinguish themselves in order to attempt to gain sole custody or primary custody.  Unfortunately that sometimes leads to making allegations against the other parent that may not be entirely truthful. One inherent problem is the reliability of the minor child involved.  Very young children can be easily persuaded to restate a story as if it actually happened to them.  Older children sometimes have very different reasons for making allegations, ranging from simply getting their way to some fear of the one parent or the other.  The fear may be of the accused parent or there may be a fear of retaliation or retribution by the parent making the claim. Another concern is that there are cases where children are abused as well as many cases where the parent becomes hyper-vigilant about abuse allegations.  This vigilance may be by a mother against a father or by a father against a step-parent.  Unfortunately, although polygraph testing is sometimes used, they are inadmissible in a court of law.  Furthermore, it is often impossible to disprove that abuse did not occur. KRS §510.110 defines Sexual abuse in the first degree. (1) A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when: (a) He or she subjects another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; or (b) He or she subjects another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent because he or she: 1. Is physically helpless; 2. Is less than twelve (12) years old; or 3. Is mentally incapacitated; or . . .  (2) Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class D felony, unless the victim is less than twelve (12) years old, in which case the offense shall be a Class C felony.As an attorney who regularly practices both domestic law and criminal law, I have  unique view of these types of cases.  Whereas a family attorney will nearly always have their client testify, a criminal attonrey will often have their client invoke the right to remain silent.  Each case must be met with a keen eye to balance the desire to keep the client out of criminal trouble and incarceration with the interest of gaining custodial rights or visitation. I have worked with many other attorneys in handling these types of cases.  If you have been charged with a crime or believe that you are being targeted as a suspect, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to talking with the investigator, police or a prosecutor.  If you need a consultation in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, contact Michael W. Bouldin at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

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