Criminal Sentences for Child Molesters

Sentencing varies by state.

Church Law and Tax 1992-05-01 Recent Developments

Child Abuse and Molestation

What kinds of criminal sentences do child molesters face? This depends on the criminal laws of each state. However, it occasionally is instructive to mention a particular case to demonstrate the seriousness of such an offense. This is especially true in view of the common perception that child molestation involving only physical touching or fondling (and not sexual intercourse) is an insignificant offense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider a recent case in Louisiana. A 56-year-old grandfather was convicted of fondling his 4-year-old granddaughter on several occasions. No intercourse was involved. The grandfather pleaded guilty, and expressed remorse for his conduct. Nevertheless, a trial court sentenced him to 14 years of hard labor, despite the fact that it was the grandfather’s first criminal offense and he had enjoyed a good reputation in his community and church. A state appeals court affirmed the sentence. Clearly, it is dangerous to assume that seemingly minor incidents of child molestation are treated leniently by the courts. State v. Driggers, 582 So.2d 369 (La. App. 369).

See the feature article in this issue entitled Sexual Abuse in the Church Nursery; Personal injuries—on church property and during church activities, Miller v. Everett, 576 So.2d 1162 (La. App. 1991); Karen S. v. Streitferdt, 568 N.Y.S.2d 946 (A.D. 1 Dept. 1991).

See Also: Negligent Selection

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