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AttorneyTom
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Category: Criminal Law
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Falsely Accused Of Child Abuse! How Do I Press Charges?

Resolved Question:

How do I press charges against someone who has falsely accused me of child abuse and sexual assault against my child?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.

Child abuse accusations made through Child Protective Services are generally kept confidential. While this places the accused in a bad position, the policy behind such confidentiality is to ensure that people are not afraid to or dissuaded from reporting suspected child abuse. However, if an accuser can be ascertained, the victim of false accusations may have a basis for a civil suit against the accuser for defamation and/or malicious prosecution or abuse of process. Such suits are complex and legal representation is important for such purposes.

A criminal complaint is also a possibility, as filing false reports is a crime. That said, the same confidentiality policy would generally apply and, for the same reason, the state may be hesitant to pursue criminal charges against a false accuser unless it's very, very clear that the accusations were known to be false when made. An individual can file a criminal complaint directly with law enforcement officers. That said, when accused of a crime, speaking with law enforcement is dangerous because dangerous admissions can sometimes be made, even if an individual did not commit the alleged crime. Sometimes, seemingly innocent statements of an innocent person can be twisted and used against the person. Therefore, when filing a false reporting complaint, it's important to have one's attorney present to make sure no damaging statements are made.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am in Arizona. My ex wife accused me of child abuse and sexual assault on my child. CPS reports were disclosed during the trial and no evidence was ever supported to show these were fact based. My ex wife used these claims to gain child custody and when later, months later, was asked about it in court, she said "I never said that". Even though the original accusations were made, in court, under oath, months earlier.

I want to press charges against her for making these claims because she clearly made these false claims as motive for child support money. How do I press charges against her? I assume the claims would be under: ARS13-2907.02 and ARS 13-2907.03. What forms do I need to file and what type of attorney would best be able to help with this type of case?

Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
It's not necessary to retain an attorney to file a criminal complaint. Basically, to file a criminal complaint, all a victim has to do is contact law enforcement. Law enforcement will then take a statement from the victim and forward the matter to the prosecutor. If law enforcement doesn't take the matter seriously, a victim could alternatively contact the prosecutor's office directly and the prosecutor's office may communicate with the victim about the matter.
For a civil suit, a victim may also wish to discuss the matter with an attorney who handles defamation and abuse of process claims, as there may be a basis for a civil suit as well. A victim should also discuss such matters with his family law attorney who assists him with the case as it develops, as it may be possible to get the court to sanction a dishonest parent for contempt and the court may also be willing to award the victim his attorney's fees.
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