Child Sexual Abuse

Under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law I § 3-602, sexual abuse of a child means “an act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a minor,” with or without physical injury. On the other hand, sexual “exploitation” takes place when the defendant takes “advantage of or unjustly or improperly uses[s] the child for his or her own benefit.” Brackins v. State, 84 Md. App. 157, 162, 578 A.2d 300, 302 (1990).;

The prosecution does not necessarily need to prove any threats, coercion, or subsequent use of the fruits of exploitation occurred. Id. In fact, the courts have even found that unbuttoning the blouse of a 12-year-old girl and exposing her breasts for the defendant’s pleasure, gratification, or interest was exploitation. Id.

An omission or failure to act to prevent molestation or exploitation, when reasonably possible to act, is child sexual abuse as well. Degren v. State, 352 Md. 400, 722 A.2d 887 (1999).

Attorney for the “Sexual Abuse of a Child” in Baltimore, MD

If you were charged with the crime of child sexual abuse under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law I § 3-602, then contact an attorney experienced in fighting sexually motivated crimes. The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates represent individuals falsely accused of this serious crime including parents, family members, or members of the same household as the child.

Accusations can be made against a person with permanent or temporary care, custody, or responsibility for the supervision of a child. These accusations can even be made against a person under a contractual duty to care for a child such as a babysitter or child care provider.

False allegations do occur in these cases for a variety of reasons including when the child has previously suffered sexual abuse by another person or because someone is manipulating the child. After a false allegation, it is important to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges as soon in the process as possible. Never talk to a law enforcement officer until after you have retained an attorney.

Call James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your case.


Elements of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Child under § 3-602

The elements of child sexual abuse under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law I § 3-602 (2012).are set out in the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions at MPJI-Cr 4:07.2. Those instructions provide for the following elements of the crime:

  1. that at the time of the abuse, the child was under 18 years of age; and
  2. that the defendant sexually abused the child by one of the following:
    • rape;
    • incest;
    • sodomy;
    • other sexual offense;
    • unnatural or perverted sexual practices;
    • sexual exploitation;
  3. that at the time of the abuse, the defendant was one of the following:
    • a parent
    • a family member
    • a member of the household
    • a person with permanent or temporary care, custody, or responsibility for the supervision of the child; or
    • under a duty to care for the child because of a contract to provide care for the child.

Definitions under Maryland’s Child Abuse Statute

The statutory scheme in Maryland provides many of the definitions that are unique to these types of crimes. The law in Maryland defines the term “family member” for purposes of this statute as a relative of the child by blood, adoption, or marriage. The term “household member” is defined to mean a person who, at the time of the alleged abuse, lived with or was regularly present in the home of the child.

The term abuse does not include the performance of an accepted medical or behavioral procedure ordered by a health care provider authorized to practice by law and acting within the scope of that authorization.


Maryland Law Defining Child Sexual Abuse

The law defining child sexual abuse and governing the investigation of allegations of such abuse is set forth in Maryland Code, Family Law Article (“FL”), § 5–701 et seq.

Under the statute, “abuse” includes “sexual abuse of a child.” FL § 5–701(b)(2). “Sexual abuse” is defined, in pertinent part, as “any act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child….” FL § 5–701(x)(1).1 Examples of acts that involve sexual molestation or exploitation of a child, such as human trafficking or rape, follow in the next statutory provision. FL § 5–701(x)(2). This list is not exhaustive.

The Department’s regulations elaborate that “sexual molestation or exploitation” means “sexual contact or conduct with a child” and includes a list of examples. The pertinent regulation provides:

“Sexual abuse” is defined, in pertinent part, as “any act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child….” FL § 5–701(x)(1).1

Examples of acts that involve sexual molestation or exploitation of a child, such as human trafficking or rape, follow in the next statutory provision. FL § 5–701(x)(2). This list is not exhaustive. The Department’s regulations elaborate that “sexual molestation or exploitation” means “sexual contact or conduct with a child” and includes a list of examples. The pertinent regulation provides:

Sexual Molestation or Exploitation.

(a) “Sexual molestation or exploitation” means sexual contact or conduct with a child.
(b) “Sexual molestation or exploitation” includes, but is not limited to:

(i) Exposure, voyeurism, sexual advances, kissing, or fondling;
(ii) Sexual crime in any degree including rape, sodomy, or prostitution;
(iii) Allowing, encouraging, or engaging in obscene or pornographic display, photographing, filming, or depiction of a child in a manner prohibited by law; or
(iv) Human trafficking.


Finding an Attorney for Sexual Abuse of a Child in Baltimore, Maryland

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates represent clients on a wide range of sexually motivated crimes including sexual abuse of a child in the first and second degree. Visit our office for a free and confidential consultation. We can discuss the facts of your case, the criminal charges, the potential punishments, and the best defenses against a false allegation.

Call 443-709-9999 today.