The Law Office of Kurt H King

February 8, 2010

Proof of Sexual Abuse by Expert In Missouri

Filed under: Custody,Family Law,Litigation — kurthking @ 5:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Say you are in a child custody or criminal court case in Missouri, perhaps Clay County, involving allegations of sexual abuse of a child.   For example, what if the mother accuses the father or step-father of abusing a young girl, and moves the court for an order that the father have no visitation or contact with the child–or only supervised visitaiton?

How to prove innocence?–or guilt?   What if the alleged perpetrator undergoes an psychological evaluation by an expert to determine if he or she did abuse the child?  Will an examination really prove anything about whether he did so?

I recently spoke with a national expert on this issue and learned that the evaluation generally canNOT support a finding that a particular person sexually abused the child.  (I say “generally” because of exceptions where the accused admits guilt, a witness saw it happen, or there is other concrete evidence that a person did abuse, and so on.)

The reason given: there is no “official” profile of a sex abuser.   So it is bunk when the expert says that a person “fits the profile” of a sex abuser” and therefore did abuse. 

Nor does such testing enable the expert to come to court and testify that the mental evaluation established that the accused “shows characteristics of a child abuser.”  (One question for any such expert would be how does he/she know what the public norm is for any test to reveal such “characteristics”–i.e., what percentage of the public would look at younger persons of a sex for longer than older persons and for what reasons.)

More importantly, even if testing could show such characteristics, it is no proof that the father/defendant abused the particular child in question.  

If a person is on the defense side of this issue, and the other side finds an expert to say the person is child sex abuser, or fits the profile of one, or has such characteristics, then be proactive.  Get a credible expert to come to report or testify on your behalf to explain why a mental examination generally does not establish that a person did sexually abuse a child.  File a Daubert motion or some other motion to disqualify the expert that claims that his mental evaluation proves a person is the child’s sexual abuser.

But realize that even if you discredit the expert, some stain may still remain from the child abuse allegations.  Rarely will the accused come completely clear of the allegations barring the child or accusing parent admitting it was all false.  Winning primary or residential child custody will be difficult for the person accused of sexual abuse of a child.

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
816.781.6000
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64024
http://www.kurthking.com

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