Child abuse is a broad terms that covers many different crimes committed against children. Sometimes the mistreatment of a child is very obvious and the question is who committed the offense. But often child abuse allegations arise from innocent bruises or ambiguous statements by a child that are viewed as suspicious. I have a proven track record of successfully representing people accused of abusing a child physically, emotionally or sexually. If you anticipate being questioned about suspicions of child abuse, you should consult with a lawyer before agreeing to talk about it. This doesn’t just apply to questioning by police; teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses are all mandated reporters and what you tell them may be repeated to investigators from Children’s Services. You certainly should speak to a lawyer before meeting with an investigator from Children’s Services.
Lawfully disciplining your child or injuries resulting from an accident may be mistaken as evidence of abuse by well-intentioned teachers, doctors, and others who interact with your child. Bumps, bruises and suspicious marks can be misinterpreted as excessive force. A child’s illness or medical condition may also be mistaken for abuse. With infants and toddlers, false accusations of child abuse may start in a doctor’s examining room or hospital emergency room. Sexual abuse suspicions and charges may also arise against an innocent person. The alleged victim may be an emotionally troubled teen who is looking for attention or a very young child who is influenced during a custody dispute.
Child abuse accusations can be handled in different ways: they may start with an investigation by Children’s Services that may lead to a referral to the District Attorney’s Office who then initiates criminal charges. In some cases, the process starts with the police arresting an individual accused of abuse and a Child Services investigation follows. Even if you have not been charged yet, you need a Lowell child abuse lawyer to ensure that you are protected throughout the investigation.
Types of Criminal Child Abuse Under Massachusetts Law
- Physical abuse that is not lawful lawful parental discipline is most often charged as Assault and Battery on a Child in violation of Mass. General Law chapter 265 Section 13J;
- Sexual abuse may be charged as Rape of a Child or Indecent Assault and Battery;
- Shaken baby syndrome: causing severe injury to an infant, small child, or baby as a result of severely shaking, jerking, pushing or pulling the child;
- Failure to protect one’s own child from abuse may lead to a charge of Wanton or Reckless Behavior Creating a Risk of Serious Bodily Injury or Sexual Abuse to a Child in violation of Mass. General Law chapter 265 section 13L.