What can I do if I’m 32 years old and was accused of molesting my 28 year old adopted brother from an alleged incident that occurred 10 years ago?

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What can I do if I’m 32 years old and was accused of molesting my 28 year old adopted brother from an alleged incident that occurred 10 years ago?

I did not do it and understand consensual age is 16. What steps should I take from here?

Asked on July 14, 2015 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Sexual assault allegations are probably the ugliest of felony allegations in the criminal justice sytem.  They are incredibly frustrating to both defendant's and victims, because usually the evidence, if any, is stale by the time any allegations come to light.

With that in mind... don't talk to law enforcement until you visit with an attorney.  You will be at a disadvantage if you go into an interrogation alone.  Right now, law enforcement has an incredibly old case.  It's your word against his.  If you make any statements that even half-way indicate that something happened, then they will be motivated to go forward with the charges. For example, if you make a statement like "I thought he/she could consent at age 16", the detective will take that to mean something did happen.  Don't make their case easy for them.  You still have the right to remain silent.

Next, if you do want to participate in an investigation, consider obtaining a polygraph exam first.  Not every law enforcement agency will accept the polygraph, but many will at least review it when deciding whether or not to move forward. 

Finally, if your brother calls, politely decline to visit with him.  Many agencies will use what are called "one party consent calls" to get people to make admissions to victims that are actually being recorded by law enforcement.  I'm not trying to make you paranoid, but assume that any conversation you have with any relative is being recorded, and that any statement can and will be used against you.

Other than keeping quiet, there isn't much you can do except to wait and see if law enforcement will agree to move forward with the charges.


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