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Areas of Pratice
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Elderly Man Accused of Child Molestation
A 76-year old North County San Diego man has been accused of molesting one pre-school girl and attempting to molest another in a condominium complex in Oceanside. In both cases, the man allegedly used his two dogs to lure the girls behind a trash bin “for purposes of committing lewd acts,” according to a police spokesperson. No other details were released.
The offense charged in this case, felony child molestation, is covered under PC 288(a), which provides:
“any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years.
This felony differs from misdemeanor child molestation in that in the latter case, there is no requirement that the conduct involve lewd conduct, or that the intent of the adult is to gratify or appeal to sexual desires.
We obviously don’t know for sure what happened in the present case, but we can tell you that if you are charged with child molestation, it may appear that you have two strikes against you even before all the facts are in. First, many people assume you are guilty until proven innocent. Second, the particulars of the crime are open to interpretation. If an individual exposes himself or herself to a minor, most people would conclude that this is a “lewd or lascivious” act. But there are a host of other acts that are not so easily categorized, and there is no precise definition of the term. How about the simple act of picking up a child and placing him or her onto your lap, or similar playful or other contact with a child that can be completely harmless and not in any way offensive? And while this is a “specific intent” crime (for example, the intent to gratify sexual desires), intent can be inferred by a jury from the surrounding circumstances.
At the Law Offices of David Shapiro, we believe that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, no matter what the charge or charges against them. If you have been charged with a sexual offense, contact an experienced San Diego sex crimes lawyer to protect your interests.
Law Offices of David Shapiro
3555 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103