There are a lot of laws in Maryland that aim to protect the freedom and civil liberties of children and prevent sexual abuse. However, like most laws, people take advantage of these laws by making false allegations and the child involved in the case becomes a puppet in family disagreements and child custody battles. If you get falsely accused of child abuse or molestation, it’s important to refer to a child abuse and molestation attorney as soon as possible because getting convicted can drastically affect your freedom, employment and reputation.
A conviction for sex crimes with children or child abuse can lead to harsh penalties in Maryland. The statutes in Maryland prohibit the physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse and neglect of minors without any exemptions. It defines abuse as “the physical or mental injury of a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed” and “sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.”
The Maryland law requires any “educator or human service worker” that includes: teachers, counselors, social workers, caseworkers and parole officers with access to the child in a particular household to report the law enforcement officers if they’re aware or suspicious of child abuse in that home.
Sexual abuse, under the Maryland family law code, § 5-701, in legal terms is considered as the sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by “a relative by blood, adoption, or marriage of a child”. This includes the child’s parents, household members, any individual responsible for the child’s supervision and any individual with custody of the child. Molestation is considered as child abuse regardless of whether or not it resulted in physical injuries. Apart from that, the code considers encouraging a child to partake in child pornography and prostitution, human trafficking, incest, rape and any other sexual offense as sexual abuse.
The Maryland family law code, § 5-701 also considers mental injury as child abuse and it defines it as “the observable, identifiable, and substantial impairment of a child’s mental or psychological ability to function.”
In Maryland, a child abuse or a molestation charge can result in getting listed on the nationwide sex offender registry for anywhere from 15 years to as long as a lifetime. Since it’s a nationwide registry, moving to another state would require you to get registered as a sex offender there as well. The record isn’t expungable and can result in the person having to face additional consequences such as hindrances in getting a job, apart from the humiliation. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider getting charged with this offense seriously and contact an attorney immediately to assess your case and help put up a solid defense.