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Alleged Sex Crimes Involving Children: Children’s Statements in Videotaped Forensic Interviews

Sex crimes involving alleged child victims present unique challenges on many issues, but particularly the admissibility of the alleged victim’s statements alleging abuse.

It is imperative that a defense lawyer understand the rules, exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions about whether and how the State may use the alleged victim’s statements accusing a person of a sex crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney should challenge these statements at every opportunity: in pre-trial evidentiary or dismissal motions, and at trial.

In many cases involving children alleging sexual abuse, the alleged victim has made statements in a forensic interview with a nurse specially trained in forensic interview techniques involving children and abuse.

In cases involving very young children, often times it will be determined that the child is too young to testify. In those cases, it is essential that the defense attorney make motions to exclude the videos from ever reaching the jury – because those videos can be extremely prejudicial to a defendant.

Often the State will attempt to admit the forensic video interview on the basis of its inherent reliability. These and other issues common to these cases raise serious Constitutional issues – in particular the 6th Amendment and the long-standing right of the accused to confront his accuser.

A skilled criminal defense attorney should retain an expert in the field of child forensic psychology that specializes in child sex cases. Such an expert can be instrumental in identifying problems in the forensic interview – and there are often substantive problems with these forensic interviews where children allege abuse.

Matthew Mankey is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has tried over 100 cases. Serving clients throughout Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro, with an experienced legal team, investigators and experts, Mankey Law Office has proven results in defending people accused of sex crimes.