A man from Missouri is facing accusations of criminal sexual conduct that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life if he is convicted.
The man, 45 years old, has been charged with 12 criminal counts for incidents involving sexual contact with child. In addition to these sexual abuse charges, prosecutors also are claiming that the man failed to register as a sexual offender related to an earlier incident. An investigator stated that if the man is convicted of these charges, he may face a lifelong prison sentence.
According to investigators, the alleged victim informed a family member that sexual abuse had taken place. The local sheriff's office and the Missouri Division of Children's Services became involved, and the man was arrested. Investigators claim that the alleged abuse happened over a seven-year period.
Police say that the man's presence on the sex offender registry stems from an incident in 1993 involving the sexual assault of a child. The man was reportedly on probation in another county for failure to register as a sex offender.
Unfortunately, it often becomes clear that public opinion usually turns strongly against the defendant pretty quickly in a case like this. But it is important to remember that at this time, it appears to be the accused man's word against the alleged victim's. Thus, the prosecution's case will hinge on the validity of the alleged victim's story.
When the criminal trial moves forward, the defense will want to research the history between the defendant and the alleged victim. Anything that indicates that the alleged victim may be biased against the defendant will tend to undermine the alleged victim's believability in the eyes of the jury. This could result in a just outcome for the defendant, regardless of any bad publicity or premature judgments made prior to the trial.
Source: The Columbia Daily Tribune, "Sex offender accused of abusing child," July 25, 2012