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Ask TexCrimLawyer, J.D. Your Own Question
TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
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What would be the legal ramifications if I reported a family

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What would be the legal ramifications if I reported a family member for sexual abuse? The child in question was a minor at the time of abuse but is now of legal age. Looking for specifically Maryland law.

Chris T., JD :

Good evening. I'll be glad to assist you with your question.

Chris T., JD :

When you are asking what the legal ramifications would be, are you referring to the person being reported, or possible civil liability for the person making the report?

Customer:

The legal ramifications to the person being reported is mainly what I was looking for. I actually hadn't considered the possibility of the second option.

Chris T., JD :

You should not be too worried about the second option. That would only come into play if you make the report knowing it to be false.

Chris T., JD :

Could you tell me a little more about the nature of the sexual abuse allegation?

Customer:

It was between a brother and sister. The brother is approximately six years older. It started while the sister was young and lasted until she moved out when starting college.

Chris T., JD :

In that case, when the sister was 14 or younger, and the brother was over 18, it would be second degree rape, which carries up to 20 years in prison. You can find the specific law here.

Chris T., JD :

Do you have any questions?

Customer:

If the brother was charged, how would the sister be able to prove the allegation? Physical proof does not exist anymore. The sister removed herself from the situation over a year ago. What would count as evidence? What else does she really have?

Chris T., JD :

The first bit of evidence she would have is her testimony. Although many people don't think of it as "evidence," testimony is evidence, and is often enough to prove a crime.

Chris T., JD :

That said, the police would look for something to corroborate the sister's testimony, which could include interviewing the brother.

Chris T., JD :

Given the time lapse, it may be difficult to find physical evidence, which may be an issue.

Customer:

She has been seeing a therapist and she voluntarily admitted herself to the psychiatric ward. Although, that visit was due to multiple factors, including the death of her younger sister.

Chris T., JD :

Another thing the police would look for is people she's told about the abuse. This would help combat any argument the brother could make that she made it up because she was mad, mentally ill, etc. Clearly, if a person has been telling others about the abuse, it makes it much less likely that she just made it up recently.

Customer:

What would the odd be of the court finding the brother at fault in a case like this? It seems like the statements could be brushed off easily to me.

Chris T., JD :

It is really difficult for me to say. It all depends on how credible a judge or jury finds the sister. I can say that cases like this are often difficult to prove for the reason you gave. It all depends on what evidence or statements the police can uncover. Every case has to be evaluated on its own merits, so it is really impossible to say one way or the other without the benefit of a police investigation.

Customer:

I had guessed that, but it never hurts to ask. I guess that answered everything I had thought off. Is there anything I seem to be overlooking or just missing due to inexperience that might be beneficial to know?

Chris T., JD :

Not that I can think of. I would just encourage the sister to make the report and let the police do their investigation. Just the fact that an investigation took place may stop the brother from doing it to other young girls. Of course, I understand that is a very personal decision.

Customer:

A difficult one too. Thank you for your time and letting me pick your brain.

Chris T., JD :

Glad to help.

Chris T., JD :

If there isn't anything else I can do for you, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go.

Customer:

Will do. Thanks again.

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