Child Molestation

People accused of child molest are vilified in the community and immediately portrayed as sexual deviants by the media. The allegation by itself is enough to ruin a life and a family with the damage unlikely to ever be undone. It is vitally important to swiftly and decisively deal with these allegations to minimize their impact on a person's life. John Barnett is experienced experts in dealing with allegations of child molestation.

Elements of the Crime

A prosecutor must prove that the accused willfully touched any part of a child either on the bare skin or through the clothing or that the accused willfully had the child touch the accused or another on the bare skin or through the clothing, that this touching was done with the intent of arousing himself or herself or the child, and that the victim was under the age of fourteen years old.


A conviction for child molest could result in probation and minimal or no custody time, or as much as 8 years in state prison. Each act constitutes one charge. This becomes important because if a person has three or more of these contacts within a 3 month period, he or she could be charged with a violation of penal code section 288.5. The maximum term in state prison for a violation of this section is 16 years. Unlike statutory rape, mistake as to the age of the victim is not a defense.


The district attorneys that prosecute these cases are specially assigned to these cases and they specialize in sex cases. They are skilled and they are zealous. They virtually always seek the most extreme punishment possible.


It takes a skilled trial lawyer to deal with these sorts of cases and these sorts of prosecutors. The guilt or innocence of the accused usually comes down to the credibility of a child. The trial attorney must be adept at handling a child witness. John Barnett is highly skilled at handling these child witnesses in ways that expose the deficiencies and inconsistencies in their stories, without antagonizing the jury. It is difficult to strike this balance between attacking the child's story, and still appealing to the jury, but this is crucial to an effective cross examination and eventually to a not guilty verdict. Children are impressionable and can take suggestive questioning and create situations inside their minds that they believe to be true. The dangers of a child's impressionable and creative mind is illustrated in the "McMartin Preschool" Trial.

A person accused of child molestation needs an attorney who is detail orientated and will spend the time necessary to listen to your story and break down the allegations. It is of the highest importance to find the cause of the allegation, the motivation for the allegation. Children don't understand the import of the things they say. This is the place where the lie begins and usually the place the accuser's story falls apart.

Trust the Law Office of John D. Barnett to help you and your family through the pain of this unimaginable experience. We will tell your story and we will fight for you.

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