Sex Abuse Law Toolbox

Child Defined

Sex Act Defined

Force Defined

What is sexual abuse in an Iowa criminal prosecution? 

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC

Targets typically learn they are the suspect in a child sexual abuse crime investigation when a knock comes at the front door. A law enforcement officer and, sometimes, a department of human services (DHS) worker want to talk. They might try to sit down at the kitchen table or invite the target to a more controlled environment, where the interrogation room is wired for sound and video.


DHS workers may appear without law enforcement and typically do not give constitutionally required warnings given to defendants during a custodial interrogation. Such workers might reason they have no authority to take a target into custody and therefore have no duty to inform a suspect they have a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney.


Investigators use special interrogation techniques to urge the interrogation target to give "his side" of the story. They inform interrogation targets that they only have half the story and that this information will be one-sided when provided to the county attorney-- who will make a charging decision. Such officers will never explicitly state that confession equals leniency, they can and do come close. Targets should not fall for such techniques which are called "promissory leniency" and constitute a due process violation.


While police seek to extract a confession from the alleged sex offender, non governmental organizations called child advocacy centers, or, CACs, extract accusations from child witnesses. Their mission is outsourced police work and abdication of a duty to investigate the veracity and motives of potentially false claims. While CAC techniques are more sophisticated than a generation ago, critics still allege they fail to test the veracity of the statements nor assess the psychological composition of the accuser. The reason for this is simple; CACs and the workers who are drawn to this work believe they are wearing a white hat, that they are "saving the children."  They cannot fathom that a child would lie. Indeed, they tout the proposition that on the whole children don't lie about child sex abuse. Indeed, the very existence of the CAC is a reaction to a bygone era of police work dismissive of child sex crimes. Now we have the opposite problem where no one will disbelieve them.


Though a forensic interviewer will never admit it, I suspect some among their ranks would consider some percentage of false accusations a small price to pay to prosecute every child sex abuse suspect.


If you or a loved one is the target of a child sex crime investigation, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC for a free initial consultation today.

Kitchen Cabinet Meeting  child sex crime investigators will line up quickly against the target of an investigation. They might start by coming to your house, sometimes with a Department of Human Services social worker, to get "your side of the story." By sitting down at your kitchen table, they believe that they have eliminated the need to Mirandize the suspect. If challenged they will argue that Miranda was unnecessary because there was no custodial interrogation. Just a friendly talk. Regardless, your right to silence follows you like a shadow. If law enforcement invite themselves into your home to question you about child sex abuse, invoke the right to silence and decline the invitation to speak to them. Powerful forces are lining up against the target of a sex abuse investigation in Iowa. If you or a loved one has been identified as the target of a child sex charge investigation, the target owes it to himself to obtain legal counsel. 

© 2020 by David A. Cmelik Law PLC