What Should I Do if I am Falsely Accused of Child Abuse in NJ?

False allegations of any kind can be incredibly embarrassing and make your life difficult.  Especially when you are falsely accused of something that directly tarnishes your character, like child abuse, the effects can be devastating.  False child abuse allegations could even lead to lost jobs and community opportunities, as well as conviction and legal penalties for a crime you did not commit.

If you are facing face child abuse allegations, the first thing to do is call our lawyers for help.  We can give you advice on how to proceed, what steps you can take yourself to minimize the impact of the false allegations, and what you should leave up to the courts.  For example, we can fight to have the charges dropped, but you can also avoid opportunities for future allegations and potentially file your own libel or defamation suit against the accuser.

For a free case review, call our NJ child abuse defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 right away.

What Are My Legal Options After False Child Abuse Allegations in NJ?

First and foremost, if there is a criminal case against you, you should speak with our NJ child abuse attorneys about fighting the charges.  However, there may be some additional legal options beyond that:

Fighting Criminal Charges

Our defense lawyers will be able to help you fight any child abuse allegations against you in a criminal case.  Child abuse charges can be filed under N.J.S.A. § 9:6-3 for any “cruelty and neglect.”  More specifically, the acts and actions that apply to these criminal charges are the general acts of abusing, abandoning, being “cruel to,” or being “neglectful of” a child.

These general acts are more clearly broken down in the definitions section, § 6:9-1, to include specific acts.  For example, “abuse” can include things such as working the child in dangerous jobs, using “profane” language around them, performing “indecent” acts in front of them, and more.  There are also specific explanations of what constitutes abandonment and neglect, highlighting the lack of care and meeting the child’s needs as common issues.  “Cruelty” is plainly defined by examples of causing them physical and mental suffering.

There are also other criminal statutes you could be charged under for sexual abuse of a minor or abuse involving child pornography or other issues.

If the allegations are based on accusations of facts that simply did not happen, then the prosecution will have a hard time proving the allegations against you.  We will fight them at every step of the criminal justice system to try to get the case thrown out or win at trial if it is permitted to continue.

If the allegations of abuse are based on arguments that something you did was legally considered “abuse,” but it does not meet the definition in these code sections, we will seek to have the case thrown out by a judge.  Moreover, we can argue to the jury that the acts in question do not meet these standards and that they should find you innocent of any charges.

Handling Other Legal Cases

If the child abuse allegations you are facing are tied to some other case, such as a divorce or child custody case, then you should focus on those legal cases as well.  For example, if your former spouse is making allegations of child abuse to try to win custody, but the allegations are false, then it should be up to the judge in that case to hold a hearing and try to get to the bottom of what the true facts truly are.

Child abuse allegations might also come up in cases involving wrongful termination at work if you worked around children.

Be sure to bring these issues up to your lawyer for those cases.

Filing a Civil Libel/Defamation

Falsely saying that someone is a child abuser is considered defamatory and can be grounds for a civil defamation or slander suit.  If these allegations were printed, such as in a newspaper, then they would be considered libel.

Our attorneys are criminal defense lawyers, but you should consider finding a lawyer to help with these civil claims as well.

What You Can and Can’t Do on Your Own After False Child Abuse Allegations in NJ

Legally speaking, it is often dangerous to resort to what the law calls “self-help.”  For example, you should not hit someone for making false allegations against you.  You should also avoid defaming them right back.  However, there are plenty of things you legally can – and should – do after facing false allegations of child abuse.  There are also some things to certainly avoid.

Avoid Getting into Arguments or Discussing the Case

If there are allegations against you, simply deny them and avoid getting into arguments or further discussions about what happened.  Any statements you make – especially to news outlets or on social media – can be used against you in court.  If you make contradictory statements or admit to some portion of the allegations, it will be harder to deny the allegations in full later.

If asked about the abuse allegations, you can simply deny the allegations or direct people to discuss it with your lawyer instead of you.

Avoid Similar Situations

If you were accused of using your job or a position in your community to abuse children, you should likely step back from that role while the case is pending.  Especially if parents think the allegations are true, they might scrutinize your every move and find new allegations of abuse to make, even for innocent actions that would not have been considered abusive before the false allegations took place.

Be On Your “Best Behavior”

If you are being scrutinized by the criminal justice system – and perhaps family court judges or other people in your community – it is important at this point in time to avoid further scandals or issues.  It is certainly in your best interest to avoid any further criminal activity, but you might also want to consider seeking therapy or evaluations for anger management, drug and alcohol abuse, or other issues that could paint you as “dangerous.”

Do Not Approach Victims or People Who Reported You

In no case should you reach out to the alleged victims or the parties who brought the allegations against you.  This could be considered witness intimidation and lead to additional charges.  All necessary communications or negotiations should be through official channels through the court or your lawyers.  You should never seek to intimidate or even ask someone to recant or withdraw their allegations.

Call Our Child Abuse Defense Lawyers Today

Contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956 for a free review of your case with our NJ child abuse defense lawyers.

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