Based on years of professional experience, this is a most frightening law. As the article clearly points out toward the end, when there are disputes between parents (often in a divorce/custody/separation dispute), kids become the battleground. And allegations of sexual abuse are not at all uncommon. I’ll refrain from being graphic, and simply say that there are parents that will see and/or hear even the tiniest “clue” and manufacture an entire scenario around that “clue” with claims of child sexual abuse by the other parent (or yes, even grandparents). See a diaper rash? That gets turned into sexual abuse not infrequently. A nearby bruise from a legitimate childhood injury during play? Again, that can become child sexual abuse. How? Easy. Three year old daughter comes home from visitation with non-custodial parent (or the opposite – going to visit the non-custodial parent), and complains of “hurting down there.” Receiving parent checks it out, sees a nearby bruise, starts questioning child with (sometimes even intentionally) leading questions, and suddenly the other parent has “touched me and it hurt.” Little imagination necessary to draw that out to its too-frequent conclusion. One call to CPS, and a non-expert “social worker” (without any advanced and specialized degree or advanced and specialized training, or sometimes even ANY degree) further aggravates the situation with highly leading or otherwise inappropriate interviewing of the child and reporting parent. And that “impartial” witness now goes on the witness stand in a courtroom after the allegedly offending parent was naive enough to voluntarily answer the social worker’s questions without consulting an attorney. Sure – true offenders are quick to “lawyer-up,” and cases are lost. But even the most innocent need to “lawyer-up” immediately upon any such HINTS of allegations, and make no statements to ANYone without a qualified attorney experienced in such cases. This is truly scary legal territory for the innocent. (As for the guilty, I loved a statement by a former district attorney in this area years ago: “The only effective treatment for a child molester is a Smith and Wesson aspirin tablet between the eyeballs.”)
Does child sexual abuse happen within families? Not only yes, but the large majority of it is at the hands of close relatives. That’s fact. But what about the not-rare cases where it’s malicious accusations by one parent, or even grandparents, out to take away custody from another parent or grandparent? Happens all the time.
And horribly written laws like this become the fuel for convictions and ruined lives when no such intent ever existed.
Oh – and don’t EVER take a photo of your cute baby in the bath, or on the table getting dried off after a bath, and then post it on Facebook, Instagram, or send it to a commercial establishment for printing for your scrapbook! That’s child porn material just waiting to be prosecuted! In fact, don’t even take or make such pictures even if you think no one else would ever see them except people who KNOW your innocent intent. Lovers can become enemies, and innocent items can become weapons. A little paranoia in this arena can be freedom-saving.