How False Claims of Child Abuse Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions

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hartford criminal defense lawyerChildren deserve to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Parents are not only required to provide for children’s needs, but they must also take the proper steps to protect them from harm. If parents fail to protect children from being injured, or if they are accused of intentionally harming children, they may face criminal charges for child abuse or neglect. However, there are many cases where parents may be falsely accused of child abuse, and they may be charged with crimes in situations where children suffered accidental injuries. 

How Shaken Baby Syndrome Can Lead to Child Abuse Accusations

Connecticut law states that a child may be considered to be abused if they suffer injuries that occurred through non-accidental means. A parent may also be accused of abuse if the explanations given for children’s injuries are inconsistent with medical findings regarding the probable causes of an injury. The law also requires “mandated reporters” such as doctors who provide treatment to children to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement.

Because the failure to report cases in which child abuse may have occurred can result in serious penalties, parents may be accused of abuse even in situations where there are reasonable explanations for children’s injuries. In many cases, reports of child abuse involve “shaken baby syndrome.” This condition, which is also known as abusive head trauma or AHT, may be diagnosed in cases where infants or children display symptoms such as swelling in the brain or blood in the eyes without other signs of trauma, such as bruises or broken bones. While there may be a variety of plausible explanations for these symptoms, such as a parent accidentally dropping an infant or a toddler falling down the stairs, a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome is often seen as a sign of child abuse. 

Parents who are accused of child abuse may face multiple types of criminal charges. One of the most common charges is Risk of Injury to a Minor, which may apply in situations where a child under the age of 16 is placed in a situation that endangers their life or health. This is a Class C felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. If a child died as the result of alleged abuse, a parent may be charged with murder or manslaughter, and a person who is convicted may be sentenced to multiple decades or life in prison.

Contact Our Hartford Child Abuse Defense Attorney

Every year, around 2,000 children are diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma. However, many of these cases may lead to false accusations of child abuse, and researchers have estimated that in as many as one fifth of reported cases, there is insufficient evidence that abuse actually occurred. Unfortunately, parents who are already dealing with stress and emotional trauma in the aftermath of a child’s injury may be charged with crimes, and they may face serious consequences that could affect their families for years to come. 

At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we understand the difficulties that parents face in these situations, and we can help them defend against child abuse accusations and ensure that they are treated fairly during any required legal proceedings. To learn more about how we can help in these situations, contact our Connecticut crimes against children defense lawyer at 860-290-8690 and arrange a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-debate-over-shaken-baby-syndrome-11655387830

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_815t.htm#sec_46b-120

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_939.htm#sec_53-21



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