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Strong accusations made, Missouri man charged with statutory rape

A man from Warren County, Missouri, was arrested on suspicion of having committed a sex crime with an underage girl.

The man, who is 29 years old, was charged with statutory rape. According to police, the man had a sexual encounter with the girl several months ago, and used social media to keep in contact with her. Police also allege that during a recorded phone conversation with the girl, the man stated that he knew she was a minor.

Readers may be wondering what must be done in order for a recorded conversation over the phone to be admitted as valid, legally-obtained evidence. If police unethically or illegally recorded the conversation, then it could be excluded as evidence. Because the girl appears to have consented to the recording of the conversation, using it as evidence may be constitutional.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of this when using the telephone. Perfectly innocent conversations could be misconstrued by police and prosecutors as being evidence of rape or illegal sexual activity. This is particularly true for registered sex offenders, who are likely to receive more attention from police and prosecutors.

Individuals may suspect that another person is planning to accuse them of illegal sexual activity. A person in this situation should minimize contact with the other person, if possible, and immediately seek legal assistance. Even though the public and law enforcement may jump to early conclusions, everyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent and have the right to retain counsel to protect their civil rights. The hope is that individuals exercise these rights, and will be treated fairly throughout the criminal process.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Warren County sex offender charged with statutory rape of girl, 14," Susan Weich, Sept. 18, 2012

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