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Child Abuse – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Just a couple of weeks ago a Citrus Valley High School teacher was charged with multiple sex crimes involving three of her male students. According to news sources, Teacher Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst was arrested July 1 on suspicion of having sexual relations with students and actually gave birth to a child as a result of one of those sexual encounters on June 8. Police believe that the father of the child was a 17-year-old student, who was believed to have been present at the birth.
As a result of the allegations of misconduct by Ms. Whitehurst, she was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a minor as well as 41 felony sex crimes involving the alleged father of her child, and 2 other boys over the 6 years of her teaching career in the Redlands Unified School District. The arrest was made only after a complaint was issued by the suspected birth father”s mother who alerted school officials about the matter. After the report, a warrant was issued against Ms. Whitehurst as well as against school officials who failed to report the suspected child abuse as mandated by California law. Obligated by law to report any suspicion of sexual abuse, school officials at the school could face some serious charges with serious consequences-a challenging situation for even the most experienced of Los Angeles child abuse defense attorney.
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Sexual Assault in California
A report released last week by the Pentagon reported a 37 percent increase in military sexual assault cases in 2012 in spite of the armed forces recent creation of numerous education programs to battle the problem. In addition, the military was said to suffer a “deep embarrassment” over the fact that even personnel who were involved in the education programs were also accused of sex crimes just last month. Tasked with what appears to be a monumental task, the military is struggling with a viable solution to the ongoing problem of sexual assault within its ranks. Consequently, a Senate bill was introduced last week that would take the prosecution of sexual assault cases out of the hands of the chain of command and allow the cases to be heard elsewhere, which would result in assault victims being more willing to proceed with prosecutions against their attacker.
Penalties for Sexual Assault in California
California law makes take sexual assault very seriously. In fact a conviction for misdemeanor sexual assault (battery) carries a jail sentence of 6 months to 1 year, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, a fine of up to $2000 (up to $3000 if the defendant was the victim’s employer), and lifetime registration as a sex offender. A felony conviction of sexual assault can result in up to 4 years in California state prison, fines up to $10,000, and lifetime sex offender registration. A complicated crime to defend, sexual assault is a challenging undertaking for even the most experienced Los Angeles assault and battery lawyer as the accusation of sexual assault is typically as “she said he said” scenario.