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Louisiana foster child’s statement prompts rape charges

The truth in criminal cases doesn't appear magically to exonerate a defendant. It's not enough for an innocent East Baton Rouge Parish defendants charged with sex offenses to wait for truth to surface. Louisiana prosecutors, judges and juries must be convinced a defendant did not commit a crime, especially when allegations involve socially-repugnant child sexual abuse.

Two men, ages 41 and 42, are in custody following revelations by a 7-year-old girl in foster care. The child and a 3-year-old girl were removed from their home two months ago by the Department of Children and Family Services. The children had been living in filthy conditions in a Wilson mobile home in East Feliciana Parish.

Police first noticed how the girls were living about a year ago. Officers saw tall, uncut grass and garbage outside, broken windows, and unsanitary conditions throughout the home. The arrests came after the oldest child told her foster mother she had been sexually assaulted throughout her life.

Authorities were contacted immediately and the arrests were made the following day. Wilson residents and police officials were shocked. Crimes in the village were few and fairly small-scale offenses, nothing like the alarming accusations of the aggravated rape of two children.

Investigators did not share many details with the public, including whether the children were related or information about the parents. The probe is ongoing with at least two more arrests planned, including a warrant for a minor. Police would not say what led investigators to the accused men, why authorities believe others were involved or how the defendants were linked to the children.

A criminal defense strategy takes into consideration members of a jury, who, like most of society, want to protect harmed children. A defendant's future can depend upon statements made by a child, which may be influenced by a desire to please or leading questions asked by adults.

Source: The Advocate, "2 arrested in East Feliciana rape case" Ben Wallace, Jul. 13, 2014

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