It is tough enough when a child is charged with a criminal act, but when a young person is accused of a sex crime, the child can be sent down an unwitting path of no return given how sex crimes are viewed in our society and how such crimes are punished in perpetuity.
Essentially, sex crimes carry such an ugly and divisive stigma that it may harm the accused even more than the victim. Young people accused of sex crimes may questioned about whether they may be admitted to college, may face additional scrutiny (or be disqualified) for scholarships and may be disqualified for certain types of employment.
Indeed, some crimes are very serious, which justify the charges and consequences that come with them. However, there are countless offenses that carry harsh, life-changing penalties that a child could not imagine.
Because of this, it is important to understand that most penalties for sex offenders were envisioned to apply to adults who take advantage of children and maliciously take their innocence. When you consider that a large majority of sexual offenses committed against kids are actually committed by other kids (especially teens), the penalty for a dangerous, serial offender should not be applied to a misguided, yet impressionable child.
As such, an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential in helping prosecutors, evaluators and the court, understand why it may not be appropriate to charge a child with a sex crime (depending on the circumstances), or how a sentence should be tailored to protect the child from future issues.