Category Archive: Juvenile Delinquency

CHILDREN WHO BULLY THEIR PARENTS

Children who bully their parents. JuvenileLawCenter.com

Experts report a growing number of parents are experiencing violence at the hands of their children. Kids as young as 10 are bullying their parents, usually their mothers, if they do not get something they want. They will spit, hit and throw things. They know it is wrong. Taking away their smart phone is like taking away their most prized possession.

Why do kids do it? They usually do it to try to control the people around them. Quite often if there is violence or abusive behavior in the home, they take their cue from it. Parental authority has become eroded.

Parents need to take a strong stance against such behavior. Parents need to be parents. They need to exercise their parental authority and lead their kids to become good, law-abiding, and productive citizens. As soon as your kids take control and ignore your parental authority, their behavior will become worse leading to many more problems at home, at school, and when they enter adulthood. The consequences incrementally become more severe as they get older.

You have tried to tell them not to be abusive. You have tried to get them into therapy. It has not worked. What can you do? My first suggestion is to contact an attorney in your area experienced with juvenile delinquency law and have then consult with you and your minor about your minor’s conduct. In such a conference, the attorney can let the minor know if the abusive behavior continues their parent will call the police, insist they be arrested, and taken to Juvenile Hall. They will be prosecuted. Judges take a very dim view of minors who are abusive to their parents. The chances of spending a few weeks in Juvenile Hall pending a psychological evaluation are good. They will face prosecution, made wards of the court, mandated to be in therapy, and be on probation for at least a year with a probation officer assigned to make sure they are doing well at school and home. In most cases the minor’s behavior will dramatically improve. Your minor will also be told to participate in therapy for themselves and in family therapy. If you do not know which attorney to call, contact your local Bar Association Referral Service and get a referral to an attorney. In this conference, your minor would be told that their parent is directed that, should the minor become abusive again to one of their parents, the police will be called and a request made to have the minor arrested, put in custody, and prosecuted. If you do not want to contact a lawyer, tell the minor the next time they are abusive you will call the police and have them arrested.

The natural concern of a parent is if the police are contacted, the minor will have a police record and will have to go to Juvenile Court. If your minor continues to get away with being abusive to their parent/s, their conduct will get worse and worse. They will not only abuse you but will likely abuse others. The chances are the first time around the police, prosecutor and judge will give your minor a break and lessen the severity of the charges and potential consequences. If your minor successfully completes probation, their charges will be dismissed and their record sealed. The alternative is more serious charges as the conduct escalates both in degree and time.

I Almost Killed My Best Friend Due to My Substance Abuse and Roll-Over Accident

I Almost Killed My Friend

This blog was written by a teen who rolled his mother’s car after drinking alcohol and using marijuana. Fortunately, his best friend who was his passenger survived. As part of his rehabilitative requirements, he attended a Drinking and Driving Youthful Visitation Program. This program incorporates classroom work, a coroners visit and a visit to a trauma unit of a local hospital. Following is his true story.

Before I entered this program I never really thought much of smoking weed. I never thought that any of my actions would affect me, my driving capability, my school education, health or home life. I figured if I kept it all to myself no one would know and it would just be an experience that I have done in my life. It was a stupid decision looking back now. I didn’t think I could get into an accident driving under the influence because I always thought that would never happen to me. I was invincible and it didn’t apply to me. I heard it affects your health. I didn’t realize it affected me so deeply and that I was killing brain cells I can never regain. I already have asthma and it just worsened the situation for my lungs. It didn’t affect my education much because I never used it during school. But I knew the risk of getting caught and how my mother would react. I did it for the experience and I thought to myself that if I kept it low key it wouldn’t even matter.

This program has changed my perception deeply. I got into major trouble, but I’m not a bad person. It was just a poor decision on my part. The people in the program had worse situations than me. It opened my eyes and scares me if I kept going the way I was going I could’ve possibly ended up like them. It’s not what I wanted at all. I now know what I did was completely wrong. No one should do it. I can only move forward from here and better myself as a person. That’s how my perception has changed from being in this class. It has been a learning experience. I never wanted to learn the hard way. Now I’m only getting better by moving forward and reaching my goals and aspirations.

The coroner’s slide show really scared me. It is the only way to put it. I was charged with a DUI causing injury. We saw a lot of pictures and heard stories that were presented about people crashing and dying from drunk driving. The whole time I was thinking about my accident before I flipped the car. It replayed in my head. I was grateful I didn’t end up like any of those people– dead on the side of the road like road kill. One fun night would never be worth my life. I remember many people being drunk and dying but one that stood out to me that I can relate to is that someone who was driving crashed but the person in the passenger seat died. That was my situation, but luckily the person next to me in the passenger seat is still alive. I have no idea what I would’ve done if I looked over to my right and had to witness that. The slide show made me realize how lucky I am to be alive. Another slide showed a car that totaled and was flipped. That’s exactly how I crashed. The slide show brought back the night into a vivid video– replaying in my head non-stop. The slide show was very graphic. It opened my eyes. It showed me things I never want to do; things I should never do. It made me grateful to be alive and to see how quickly life can be taken away over a bad decision.

In the hospital visit there wasn’t a lot going on that was related to people being intoxicated. But just the experience of going was something. I learned because people were either really sick or were injured. The fact that I could’ve been injured seriously or even dead amazes me to this day because I could’ve been there. It affected me mentally because I saw people injured, but what really got to me is how the family was next to them on their bed. They were just hoping that their family was okay and not hurting, which was crazy to me because if I was in that situation I would have my mom next to me. I would be causing her pain knowing I put myself in this situation. It got to me emotionally because I’m lucky and thankful to be alive. What really hit home was that if I was on the bed in the ER I have no idea what I’d say to my mom or how it would affect her to see her only child in pain and struggling. It has changed any and all beliefs on driving under the influence because I don’t ever want to put myself in that situation by hurting myself, hurting love ones and lastly innocent people on the street. Looking back it was immature and cowardly of me to even do that because I could’ve really done some damage out on the streets by being in that state of mind while driving.

All of this is now a learning experience because the damage is done, but now I’m bettering myself and all these classes have showed me that. Alternatives that I have thought of is just don’t drive in that state of mind. Going through this is not worth it. It’s not just your life you are risking but you put so many other people in pain. This was a meaningful class. It taught me more about what not to do, but in between I learned how all this affects me and people around me. I would recommend it to kids who are misguided because it puts you back on track and opens your eyes to reality. You get the tools in the classes and after you build on whatever you want. I’m going to build from this in my future.

INCREASED PUNISHMENT FOR SEX OFFENSES BY JUVENILES

Andries law in California increases the punishment for sexual offenses committed by juveniles.

Audries Law, effective January 2015 in California, increases punishment for juveniles who sexually assault an unconscious victim do to their intoxication. A 15-year-old high school student was sexually assaulted at a house party. She was unconscious at the time. The perpetrators, 15- and 16-year-old boys, took photos of the assault with their cell phones and shared them with their classmates. The girl found out about this and killed herself.

The law expands the list of offenses for which the public and press may attend juvenile proceedings. Those now include sexual offenses against another where that person is prevented from resisting due to being rendered unconscious by any intoxicating, anesthetizing, or controlled substance, or when the victim is at the time incapable, because of a disability, of giving consent, and this is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the offense.

A minor charged with such a felony offense is precluded from eligibility to petition the court for Deferred Entry of Judgment. The Legislature has elevated the seriousness of the charges for such an offense as equivalent to a list of the most serious offenses for which a minor can be excluded for consideration by the court for Deferred Entry of Judgment. The Juvenile Court in determining how the offender(s) should be punished can consider the seriousness and circumstances of the offense, the vulnerability of the victim, the minor’s criminal history and prior attempts at rehabilitation, the sophistication of the minor, the threat to public safety, the minor’s likelihood of re-offending, and any other relevant information presented. The court may order sex offender treatment, commit the minor to Juvenile Hall, a ranch, a camp, or a forestry camp. It may order the minor be sent to a long-term residential facility for treatment and supervision.

What does “unconscious at the time” mean? Does the victim have to be literally unconscious? In ruling on cases where an adult has been convicted of rape by intoxication, the courts have not required the victim to be literally unconscious. It is not enough that the victim was intoxicated to some degree or that the intoxication reduced the victim’s sexual inhibitions. The mental impairment must have been so great that the victim could no longer exercise reasonable judgement concerning the issue.

Most parents and their minors do not know that any lewd or lascivious acts, sex acts with minors under the age of 14, even consensual, are felony offenses and can lead to very serious consequences for their minors. It is illegal for any minor, under the age of 18, to engage in intercourse and other specified types of sex acts, even if consented to by both minors. The victim does not have to be intoxicated or have a disability. If the court finds the victim comes within the meaning of Audries Law, the offending minor(s) will face enhanced consequences for their offense. Please review our blog on Sex Between Minors.

FALSE CONFESSIONS BY MINORS-THEIRS AND YOUR RIGHTS

falseconfessions

Recently there have been stories about false confessions by minors to crimes. The false confessions resulted in very serious charges being filed against the minor(s) resulting in severe prison sentences. Half-brothers were convicted in North Carolina in 1984 of raping and killing an 11-year-old girl. One of the brothers was on death row. Recently analyzed DNA evidence cleared them and implicated another man who is in prison for a similar crime. The brothers were 19 and 15 when arrested. Both were black. After five hours of intense questioning, without a lawyer or a family member present, the brothers confessed. There was no physical evidence connecting them to the crime. They later recanted their confessions claiming they were made under duress and maintained their innocence. In 2010 the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission took up their case. They found the man, who later DNA implicated, and cleared the brothers. The man lived close to where the body of the girl was found. The same man was found guilty for the rape and murder of another girl in similar circumstances.

Five minors were wrongfully convicted of the rape of a woman jogger in 1989 in New York City. The five, all black or Hispanic teenagers, ranged in age from 14 to 16. They were interrogated for hours by the police without access to lawyers or to their parents. They confessed but later recanted alleging their confessions were coerced by the police. The victim had no memory of the attack. The teenagers served prison terms ranging from 7 to 13 years. In 2002, prosecutors determined that another man, a serial violent offender, had committed the crime. The settlement of the subsequent civil suit against the police and the City of New York just settled for $41 million.

Court TV’s interrogation of Michael Crowe aired first in April 2001. Michael, 14 at the time, was suspected by the police of killing his 12-year-old sister who was stabbed to death in San Diego. Fortunately for Michael, the interrogation was videotaped. There was about eight hours of interrogation. Michael had been taken from his family home and put in a home for abused children. The police lied to him telling him they had a substantial amount of blood and hair evidence against him. They suggested to him that perhaps he could not remember what he did. He could talk and get the help he needed or he could refuse to talk and go to jail. Michael cried, “I would rather die than go to jail.” A judge subsequently threw out his confession on the basis it was coerced by the police. Michael was found factually innocent by the court. A civil suit against the police and the City of Escondido was filed.

California courts have held the police can lie and deceive suspects, including juveniles, when they question them. While being interrogated, Michael Crowe declared his innocence 80 times, crying and wondering why the police kept telling him he stabbed his sister. Minors taken from their homes and questioned without a parent present or an attorney representing them are extremely vulnerable to false suggestions, especially if they think by telling the officers what they want to hear they will be able to return home. The minor should be told not answer any questions by the police, the school police, or by school personnel if accused of committing criminal acts without first either consulting with the parent/s or requesting that an attorney be present.

What should parents tell their minor/s to do if arrested?

1. If your minor is detained or arrested by the police, tell them to insist on having a parent present before answering any questions. California state law does not require police to tell a minor they have this right. The minor must verbally insist on having his parent(s) present before any questioning takes place. If you’re minor calls you from the police station, be aware the call is probably being tape recorded. You should not discuss the facts of the case over the phone with your minor. If the police leave you in a room to talk to your minor alone, it’s highly likely they have left you in a room where your conversation will be tape recorded. If the police will not allow you to talk to your minor outside the station, you and your minor insist that an attorney be present before your minor is questioned. Your minor must request an attorney. You’re doing so for your minor will not suffice. It is also likely if you arrive at the police station and your minor is in custody and you insist on being present with your minor, police will stall you speaking to your minor until they have finished questioning them. This is why it is so important you instruct your minor(s) they must request their parent(s) be present before any questioning starts. The police are not permitted to tape record conversations between attorney and the client. They are not permitted to audiotape an attorney and client conversation at the police station.
2. Your minor has a right to request an attorney be present for any questioning. They must request an attorney. The police might not advise a minor of their Miranda rights, the right to have an attorney present before any questioning takes place, claiming the minor was not under arrest and could leave at any time. Tell your minor before answering any questions by the police to request a parent(s) presence and to request the services of an attorney. Tell your minor under no circumstances, if he’s made that request, to further speak to the officers even if they tell them that their conversation is off the record. Statements made in violation of Miranda rights can be used to impeach the minor if they should take the stand and testify as to certain facts not consistent with their statements made to the police which were taken after the request for an attorney was denied.
3. The police will be upset that your minor is requesting a parent be present before any questioning and if they request an attorney be present as well. If possible, the police want a confession from your minor as to their involvement in the crime they believe your minor is responsible for. If not a confession, they want a statement as to what they know about the offense. It is not uncommon for police to threaten the parents and the minor that if they do not cooperate and provide statements they will put the minor in custody immediately and not release them to their parent pending the filing of charges by the District Attorney. When dealing with the police, let them know that you want to be cooperative but you just want to make sure that you as the parent has had a chance to talk to your minor in confidence and can consult with an attorney as to whether the minor should make a statement are not. It could very well be that it is in the minor’s best interests to make a statement even if it might incriminate them, but that should be done after consultation with the parent and, if possible, an attorney.

 

 

THE ADULT BEARS TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR A SEX OFFENSE WITH A MINOR

adult responsibility

A judge in Montana made inappropriate comments about a 14-year-old student who was the victim of sexual intercourse without consent. A 47-year-old high school teacher had pleaded guilty to a sex offense with the 14 year old.

In Montana, a minor under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse. The judge made comments to the effect that the minor shared some of the responsibility. The Montana Supreme Court rightly censured the judge for his comments. In California, minors under the age of 18 cannot consent to sexual intercourse unless they are emancipated.

The person who bears total responsibility for the offense is the adult teacher. He absolutely knew his conduct was criminally and morally wrong. There is no excuse for his behavior.

There are important lessons for all family members to learn from these types of cases.
Men, women, and adolescents can easily become attracted to vulnerable minors if they socialize with them, spend enough time with them, and/or seek emotional and sexual comfort from them.

Keep a healthy distance from forming social relationships with minors.
Men, women, and adolescents can become attracted to minors. That attraction can lead into a sexual relationship. The more an adult socializes with the minor, the minor becomes another person to them that they can relate to, talk to, joke with, and become attracted to. The adult slowly starts treating the minor as another adult. Their psyche is not telling them this is a minor and to keep your hands off and come to your senses. The minor responds favorably to the adult/older adolescent’s attention. The minor wants to be kind, nice, and responsive to the adult. The minor likes the attention thinking they are something special. Remember at all times when dealing with a minor/younger adolescent that a judge, police officer, or a prosecutor is standing behind you watching what you are doing.

Teachers, coaches, youth ministers, clergy, Boy Scout/Girl Scout leaders, and tutors must be aware the more time they spend alone with a minor the greater the chance the relationship could expand into something sexual and very wrong. An adult can quickly lose sight of the fact they are dealing with a minor.

We read about men and women being prosecuted for sexual conduct with minors. In a number of cases it is a coach, youth minister, Boy Scout/Girl Scout leader, tutor, teacher, babysitter, big brother/big-sister or clergy. Headlines such as the following have appeared in local media: “Oxnard high school teacher accused of ‘sexting’ student”; “Butte County Deputy Arrested for ‘Sexting’ Minor”; “Teacher Accused of Exchanging ‘Sext’ Messages, Graphic Images with a 13-Year-Old Student”; “Long Beach Cop Allegedly Sexting with Minor He Met on the Job”; “Sexting by assistant football coach draws lawsuit”; “Santa Maria teacher accused of sexting student”; “Hummer Mom Makes First Court Appearance”–this 42-year-old mother was accused of having sex with boys who were barely teenagers when it started; “Parents ‘Shocked’ About Sexting Allegations”–a female high school soccer and lacrosse coach in Poway, CA, was accused of sending harmful matter to a minor and communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sexual act.

Suggestions to avoid finding yourself being criminally prosecuted, losing your job, your profession, your marriage, and your good character:

1. Do not socialize with minors. If you are a teacher, coach, mentor, big-brother/sister, music teacher, therapist, youth minister, tutor and you use email to communicate with the youth you are teaching/coaching/mentoring do it in a general email to all the students. Do not start private email conversations with any student, team member, boy/girl scout, youth group participant, or other groups you may be an adult for. Always remember when around youth, communicating with them, there is standing behind you the judge, prosecutor and police officer.

2. Do not invite a student/minor to your house. Don’t socialize with your students. Some teachers invite their students to their homes as a reward for being a good student. You are not the student’s buddy–you are their teacher. If you want to have a party for your students, make sure their parents are invited. Do not have it at your house. Make sure there are other teachers or adults present. Never be alone with a student or team member where there is not another adult with full view of you and the minor.

3. Do not give a student or team member rides in your car unless they sit in the backseat with another student. Do not let them sit beside you. You don’t want some allegation being made you touched them in some inappropriate way while driving. Under no circumstances allow a student to sleep in your hotel/motel room. Once again, you are vulnerable to one of them asserting you touched them inappropriately in the night when you thought they were sleeping.

4. Do not horse-play or wrestle with a student or team member. All it takes is an allegation you put your hand on their private area, near their private area, or touched their chests and the next thing is you are being investigated for child abuse charges.

5. If you are around minors on a regular basis as a teacher, coach, mentor, youth minister, tutor, or Boy/Girl Scout leaders insist your school, recreational league, or church put on yearly seminars to educate and assist you in protecting yourselves from being accused of inappropriate behavior with minors.

 

 

 

CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NEGLIGENT STORAGE OF FIREARMS

shotgun

Michael C., age 16, left his home in California shortly after 8:00 p.m. He took the family car, some credit cards, and his father’s Swedish Mauser military rifle equipped with a telescopic sight. About 6:00 the next morning he stationed himself on an overpass and started to fire at the passing vehicles. He shot and killed three people and wounded others. Michael then put the rifle to his head and killed himself.

Michael’s parents and Michael’s estate were sued for damages. It was alleged that Michael’s parents were negligent in making firearms available to Michael. It was further alleged they were negligent in their training, supervision and control of Michael. For the purposes of this blog, we will address the allegation of negligent storage of firearms.

Negligent Storage Of The Rifle In A Locked Cabinet

Michael’s father kept his rifle and its supply of ammunition in the family garage in a locked cabinet. Michael knew where the two keys to the cabinet were located. He used one of the keys to obtain the rifle.

A published California Appellate Court opinion addressed the legal issues presented by the above facts. The court permitted the case to go forward to a jury on the issue of Negligent Storage of the Rifle. The court set forth the following general principles in its decision: 1. “A…rifle is a lethal weapon whose sole function is to kill human beings and animals of comparable size. A person dealing with a weapon of this kind is held to the highest standard of care;” 2. “A majority of other jurisdictions have considered it actionable negligence for a person to leave a firearm in a place where he should foresee it might fall into the hands of a child.”

Absolute Liability For Permitting A Minor To Have A Firearm Or
Leaving A Firearm In A Place Accessible To The Child

In addition to the parents being sued for negligent safeguard of a firearm, the parents are subject to an additional basis for liability. California Civil Code section 1714.3 adopted by the California legislature in 1970 makes a parent liable in an amount up to $30,000.00 for injury or death to one person proximately caused by the discharge of a firearm by his child if the parent permitted the child to have the firearm or left it in a place accessible to the child. The amount can be $60,000.00 if more than one person was killed or injured. This is described as absolute liability and negligence does not have to be proved.

Grandfather Liable For Leaving Loaded Gun In An Unlocked Dresser Drawer

The opinion also referenced a case in Pennsylvania where a grandfather was held liable for injuries inflicted by his grandchild with a loaded gun which the child found in the grandfather’s bedroom in an unlocked dresser drawer. The court in Pennsylvania found the grandfather has a duty to exercise extraordinary care to see no harm would be visited upon others as a consequence of his conduct.

 

ENTICING SOMEONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY CAN RESULT IN A MANDATORY TEN-YEAR SENTENCE

lost

The Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals court just upheld the mandatory minimum sentence of a 45-year-old man for the attempted enticement of a minor to engage in “any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.” He was convicted of one court of 18 U.S.C. section 2422(b). Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to specifically prohibit the enticement “using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdictions of the United States knowing persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 10 years or for life.” Since the enactment of the Act, the United States Congress has increased the penalties for this offense three times. The last time was in July 27, 2006, to “life in prison and increasing the mandatory minimum to ten years.”

This man’s offense took place in Oregon. Under Oregon state law his conduct would be a misdemeanor offense. How can he also be charged under federal law? If one commits a state offense which also could be a federal offense, one could be prosecuted in either jurisdiction (Federal or State) or both. More and more possession of child pornography charges are being prosecuted in the Federal courts because the judges in the Federal courts, following Federal Sentencing Guidelines, are imposing lengthy prison sentences for these offenses. It is not that the State courts don’t take these offenses seriously, but most of these type offenders are first time offenders with jobs and families, and are very likely to do very well on probation and not repeat the same offense again. Offender specific therapy is very successful and, for the safety of the community, they don’t need to be placed in prison for years at taxpayer expense. Congress wants to impose lengthy prison sentences, despite the background of the defendant, for these type offenses.

What did this man do? He approached a 16-year-old girl he had seen at his kid’s school in a store. He told her he thought she “looked nice.” He sent her a “friend” request on Facebook. The girl wisely told her father. Her father reported this to the local police. The FBI got involved and had one of their agents pose as the girl on Facebook. An instant message account was established on a Yahoo! email account. The defendant sent messages enticing the girl to have sex with him. Eventually a meeting was set up where the defendant arranged to meet the girl at a train station. The defendant went to the train station to meet her and was arrested. The girl did not go to the train station. When arrested he had alcohol and condoms on his person. He was charged with one count of online enticement of a female minor. The defendant had been reported before to the local police for sending sexually explicit messages to another 16-year-old girl and to an 18- year-old girl, but he was not prosecuted for those incidents.

The defendant can be any age. He or she could be a juvenile or over the age of 18. How many juveniles are using the internet, instant messaging, texting, using Facebook and other social media sites to entice and solicit sexual activity? People say things by text, on Facebook, in email and on social media sites they would never say in person. If your minor under the age of 18 was Federally charged for this offense, they would be tried under the Federal Juvenile rules and laws. They probably would not be facing a ten-year mandatory prison sentence but could face severe custodial and other sanctions. If they are 18 or over, they are facing the same penalties as this defendant.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

1. Talk to your minors. Talk to your spouse or significant other and discuss cases like this. The defendant in the above case has a family. He is now facing a minimum sentence of ten years in a Federal penitentiary.

2. Supervise your minors texting, their Facebook page, Instant Messaging and other social media sites. Put parental controls in place to block sexual material. Please review our prior blogs on these subjects.

3. Do not permit your minors to restrict you from having access to the above. If they will not permit you to regularly review and supervise what they are texting, sending and posting, don’t allow it or pay for it.

 

WHAT IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR WITH A MINOR UNDER 14 OR IF YOUR CHILD IS THE VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR

heart abuse

Most parents will want to immediately rush their minor to a therapist for counseling.

Yes, your minor definitely needs professional counseling–but wrong first move. The therapist must make a referral to the local Child Welfare Services of any reported child abuse. The police are also automatically informed of the report.

We recommend you immediately consult with an experienced juvenile or criminal attorney in your area who has experience with these kinds of cases. Why? The attorney does not have to report the allegation to Child Welfare Services or to the police. There are approved, experienced therapists in your local area that the juvenile probation services and the juvenile courts use for therapy in these kinds of cases. You want your minor seen by one of these experienced therapists. The attorney can consult and refer the family for therapy, psychological evaluations, and other services that will give the minor the best chance to present well to the authorities when the matter is referred to Child Welfare Services. You want, if possible, to avoid your child being arrested and placed in juvenile custody. If they are engaged in approved therapy programs, placed away from having contact with their victim/s, and doing well in school and the community, the courts are more likely to permit them to remain out of custody while their court proceedings take place. Child Welfare Services will generally not remove the minor from the home if there are no younger minors at risk of molest.

We do not recommend you avoid getting therapy for your minor who has abused someone or your minor who may have been a victim. It is our experience this can backfire later in life when the consequences for both the abuser and the victim can be far worse than if handled properly at the beginning of the case. For example, your son was 15 years old when he molested a younger child. It was not reported to Child Welfare Services or to the police until the victim, who is now 18 years old and in therapy, discloses it to their therapist. Your son who is now over 18 will be prosecuted as an adult. The sentence as an adult will be far worse than that as a juvenile. They will be facing lifelong sex registration requirements. If handled as a juvenile, they most probably would avoid a sex registration requirement. If your minor was a victim and if therapy is delayed, they will have many issues in early adulthood that can lead to lifelong problems.

THE MONSTERS LURKING IN OUR HOMES

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Now that the holidays are behind us and we actually have some time to relax, I have a very important question to ask you. Did you give your child a smart phone, tablet or computer for Christmas? If so, did you install online parental controls or filtering software? I am a teacher of 23 years and a mother of 8. I have three teenage boys at home and this is a priority in our house.

According to a 2011 Microsoft Corporation Study 64% of parents DO NOT use parental controls or filtering software. The same study showed that 67% of teens have cleared their browser history to hide their online activity from their parents and 31% do this on a regular basis. What are they trying to hide? Without parental controls or filtering software smart phones, tablets and computers are monsters lurking in the shadows. Did you know that 25% of teens are exposed unwillingly to nudity online where they aren’t looking for it? 42% of kids first view pornography before the age of 13 and 78% before the age of 18? If that doesn’t break your heart then this will…the largest consumer of internet pornography are kids ages 12 to 17. When I read this it broke my heart but it also made me very angry. These are our babies that are viewing this inappropriate material. “Pornography is defined as any image that leads a person to use another person for their own sexual pleasure. It is devoid of love, intimacy, relationship or responsibility. It can be highly addictive.” So why aren’t parents protecting their kids online activity?
There are many reasons:

1) Parents are busy with the daily duties of life.
2) Parents aren’t aware of how much time their kids actually spend online.
3) Parents don’t realize the prevalence of pornography and how it can impact their kids current and future lives and relationships.
4) There are just too many internet devices to monitor.
5) Parents feel inadequate in internet enabled devices and just are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

What can parents do? Protecting our children online needs to be a priority!!!! Do not allow the internet monsters to control your child’s life! What can a parent do?

1) Install parental controls and filtering systems on all internet enabled devices.
2) Be aware of anonymizers. Anonymizers are secure websites that allow teens to visit other websites without being tracked which means that teens can anonymously surf the web without the protection of filters or accountability.
3) Use YouTube’s safety mode to guard against adult content.
4) Set Google to safe search to automatically filter inappropriate search results.
5) Know what they download using peer-to-peer networks.
6) Limit the time they spend online.
7) Review and set parental controls periodically.
8) Monitor their mobile devices. Don’t buy it if you aren’t going to monitor it!
9) Talk to your kids!!!

For more information go to: www.covenanteyes.com

MINORS CAN AND DO COMMIT SEXUAL ABUSE

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

If your minor under the age of 18 willfully and lewdly touches the body of a child under the age of 14 and the touching was done with the intent to arouse, appeal, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of your child or the other child, they are guilty of a felony offense.

Minors today have access to viewing graphic sexual conduct on the television, the internet, and in videos. They no longer have to get a “smut” magazine and secretly view it. From our experiences boys and girls entering the seventh grade become very interested in sex. This is understandable at their ages. They will chat, post, share pictures, talk about sexual contact, and experiment in sexual acts. We all know it is much easier to say and share things in text messages, emails, and on social media sites that one would not do in person. Two of our prior blogs discuss the dangers of modern technology and why parents must actively supervise their minors’ smart cell phones and other technological devices that have internet coverage.

One of our prior blogs describes what is legal and not legal for minors to engage in. We are frequently called in to consult and represent minors when a 10 year old or older is accused of lewdly touching a child a year or more younger than themselves. This can be an older brother or sister sexually touching a younger sibling or step-sibling. It frequently involves younger children of friends or relatives. The minor might be a babysitter or just someone who wants to experiment with a sexual act. This will be done when they have access to a younger minor and are out of sight of the parents.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP MINORS AVOID
SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN

Talk to your children about good and bad touching. Keep reminding them as they get older about good and bad touching. Impress upon both sexes the importance of reporting any improper touching by adults or other kids.

If you are uncomfortable having this talk, enlist the help of an uncle or aunt or other relative that can have this frank talk. It needs to be repeated until the adults are very comfortable the message has been received.

If you are starting to get more concerned and worried about your minor and their sexual interests, enlist the help of an experienced attorney in juvenile and criminal law in your area who can clearly outline for your minor all the terrible things that can happen if they engage in lewd behavior with minors under the age of 14 as a juvenile and certainly as an adult. Sexual offenses are considered extremely serious and can have a life-long impact on ones life.