Investigative Procedures in Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

Part II: Victim and Subject Interviews

John C. Wideman*

ABSTRACT: This is the second of a series of articles on investigative procedures in child sexual abuse.  The object of this series is to suggest how an investigation should be done correctly.  This article discusses how to interview alleged victims and perpetrators.
  

At this point in the investigation, the investigator will have secured available physical evidence, if any, and interviewed the first reporter.  Other, immediately available witnesses also may have been interviewed.  The information gathered will tell the investigator several important things:

1. The nature of the alleged offense:
a.  Incest
b. Sexual assault or sexual abuse or other terms depending upon the statutory definition used in the state.
2. The possible identity of the offender:
a. Parent
b. Sibling
c. Non-nuclear family relative (e.g. uncle, aunt, grandfather)(14)
d. Family friend, neighbor
e. Peer group playmate
f. Stranger
3. The circumstances surrounding the first report by the victim to the first reporter.
a. Physical circumstances
b. Wording used by victim
c. Amount of contact with others since first report
d. Other witnesses to first report

This information will now be used to adjust the investigative plan and orient investigative resources.  For example, some states have statutory provisions concerning incest cases which seek to maintain the nuclear family and opt for counseling as opposed to prosecution of the offending family member.  If a peer age playmate is involved, the matter may have to be turned over to a special juvenile unit or officer.  If the perpetrator is an elderly grandfather, senile, mentally impaired, or a family member, the prosecutor and the family may have no interest in prosecuting the case.

The investigator should always maintain close contact with the prosecutor to insure that the prosecutor intends to prosecute the case should it develop into a viable criminal matter.  There is simply no purpose in a criminal investigator continuing to investigate a case that the prosecutor has determined will not be prosecuted.  This is not to say that leads which could lead to an indictment should not be pursued.  However, investigative resources are not endless and often, the matter is better handled through a social service agency (e.g. welfare, human services, child protective services) where prosecution is not the ultimate objective.  In order for this to be done in a professional, orderly and efficient manner, the investigator must never lose sight of his job and become so focused on a case that he loses his perception of reality.
  

Publicity

A second matter that will come into play in cases involving child sexual abuse is publicity.(15)  This may be publicity concerning the incident if it is unusual, violent, or particularly gruesome, if the victim is from a prominent or politically powerful family, or if the offender is prominent, politically powerful or unusual in some respect.  It takes a particularly disciplined investigator to ignore news media inquiries until the time is proper for such information release.  For most investigators, this problem will be solved by the law enforcement department head or the prosecutor, one of whom will make statements to the news media.  Pray they don't screw up the investigation.

If the investigator is faced with handling news media inquiries as might occur on an ad hoc basis or in a small department, there are a number of considerations:

1. Until an arrest warrant is executed or an indictment is obtained, a suspect is only that, a suspect.  It is better to wait until the arrest or the indictment before revealing the identity of the suspect.  A premature revelation on the investigator's part may be harmful to the prosecution or, if the suspect is later cleared, result in extreme embarrassment to or to a lawsuit(16) against the officer and the department.  When in doubt, let the official court records tell the story.
2. Very few jurisdictions will allow the identity of a juvenile victim or offender to be known.  Cooperation with the media by providing confidential information could result in that information being made public, much to the detriment of the investigator.
3. Prosecutors, for the most part, are elected officials and as such like to make their own press.  If the investigator steals the thunder in a case that may ultimately result in a lot of publicity for the prosecutor, he or she may seek to have that investigator assigned to other "career broadening" assignments.
4. Competition in the news media is very high.  If the investigator becomes known as the "leak" for a particular newsperson or agency, it may damage his credibility as an investigator.  Also, if such a situation becomes known to the defense team, the investigator might have to answer some very difficult questions from the witness stand.
5. If a news media release becomes necessary and the investigator is stuck with it, follow these rules:
a. Write out the release and have it approved by departmental legal counsel.
b. Give it to the media all at the same time by announcing a news conference.
c. Read the prepared news release to the media representatives.  Do not answer questions.

Interviewing the Victims

I will not go into extreme length on interviews involving child sexual abuse victims.  There is an abundance of information available concerning child victim questioning methodology in Wakefield and Underwager, Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse(17) and their latest book, The Real World of Child Interrogations.(18)  In addition, there are other authors(19), who offer limited information on how to interview child victims. I would like to address other problems that are more investigative in nature.
  

Perceptions About the Investigator

All of us are concerned about our professional reputation and standing.  Investigators are no different.  Investigators would like to be seen as consummate, unbiased professionals and guardians of the public morals and welfare, but the reputation is not often realized.  One of the reasons for this is a public perception of investigators as overzealous, biased, and statistics happy.  In child sexual abuse cases, the reputation becomes magnified, particularly if the victim or suspect are well known, or if there is some lurid aspect to the case.  Often times, to counter the feared perception, investigators will adopt macho positions regarding the alleged crime and offer public and private opinions as to what extremes of punishment should be visited upon the "perp" when he is caught or convicted.

Of all crimes, nowhere is the true professional demeanor of the investigator more important than in child sexual abuse crimes.  The investigator must resist the impulse to join with society in making outlandish remarks about offenders, punishment, and future expectations of the offender's life in the "joint."  We all have heard the often apocryphal stories of what happens to child molesters ("short eyes") in prison.  Yet, no one has done a scientific study, to this author's knowledge, about what happens to child molesters in prison environments.  The several offenders with which this author has been involved did their time and are presently wandering the streets.  None was killed, severely brutalized, or mutilated.

The situation facing the investigator in a child sexual abuse case is best summed up by Lanning and Hazelwood(20) in their seminal work, The Maligned Investigator of Criminal Sexuality:

Simply stated, it is the power of the word, "sex."  It overwhelms the word, "crime."  When one hears the word "sex," a range of emotions is evoked from pleasure, ecstasy, and lust to love, warmth and sharing.  The word "crime," however, is associated with violence, anger, harm, devastation and fear.  "sex" and "crime" do not complement each other.  They don't seem to belong together at all.  So, when an individual hears "sex crime," what actually registers is "sex."  Is it any wonder that a person meeting or dealing with one involved in such work smiles and says, "You're one of those, huh?"

So, the investigator does not want to be known as highly interested in child sexual abuse matters for fear that someone will suspect the investigator of being "strange."  A collateral issue is to protest against such outrageous crimes first so that people will not think that the investigator "likes" his work.  The best way to avoid all these problems is to conduct the investigation in an unbiased, aggressive professional manner seeking to obtain facts and from those facts, determine if an offense actually occurred and who may have committed the offense.
  

General Investigative Concerns for the Family

In every case, there will be general concerns that have to be addressed eventually.  Usually, the non-offending parent or guardian will ask these of the investigator.  Some of the questions have readily available answers, some do not.  Examples of such questions are:

  1. What will happen to the child?
  2. Will the child be taken from the home (parents)?
  3. What will happen to the offender?
  4. Will the offender be put in jail?
  5. How will the offense (investigation) (interviews) (trial) (publicity) affect the child in the near-term future and long-term future?
  6. What is the danger of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?  "Can my baby have AIDS?"
  7. Will the child have to testify in court?  If so, will the offender be present?  If so, will there be people in the courtroom?  What questions will be asked?
  8. Will the offender lose his job?
  9. Can we sue the offender civilly?
  10. Will the child have to miss school?
  11. Will people in the community know about this?
  12. Will the child's schoolmates know about this?
  13. What will happen if the offender gets off?
  14. If no damage has been done to the child, why should we put the child through all of this?

If you know the answer and can insure that it is right, go ahead and answer the question.  Do not pretend to be psychic, give legal advice or be doom and gloom.  Be practical and forthright.  Do not lie to the parents just to get them to agree to a prosecution of the matter.

Remember that they probably will have constant control of the victim and can grossly influence the outcome of any trial.  If they perceive that they have been tricked or lied to, they may sabotage your whole effort.
  

Incest Victims

For the purposes of this article, we will consider only natural parents and natural siblings, including half-brothers or half-sisters, as definitionally able to commit incest.  For that reason, step-parents, step-siblings, and all other blood-related but non-nuclear family members are considered in the all other offender category.  Each investigator will have to be guided by the specific state statutes in his jurisdiction for charging purposes.  However, here we are considering operational matters more than technical, legal matters.

For the investigator, the interview of the child sexual abuse victim poses a number of special problems with which the investigator usually does not deal.  The offender may be a parent, step-parent, sibling, step-sibling or a family relative.  This in itself is not unusual because numerous acts of violence, particularly homicides, are perpetrated by nuclear and non-nuclear family members.  However, because of the puritan ethic of our society concerning matters of a sexual nature and the particular taboo concerning incest, investigators may become concerned when dealing in these areas.  This, coupled with the fact that often there is little or no physical evidence, make the investigation very difficult and put the investigator in the position of being the visible representative of society to the family, offender and non-offender alike.

if the preliminary information indicates that a nuclear family member (natural parent or natural sibling) may be the offender, the investigator is faced with a problem.  The various states and the federal government agencies all handle the interview of a child victim, particularly incest victims, differently.  The investigator has to be guided by his own policies and procedures as well as the applicable statutes under which he operates.  With those in consideration, the investigator needs to select the path to the victim that offers the best chance to obtain as untainted an interview as possible.  Obviously, an interview at the residence with the possible offender present does not offer such an opportunity.

Another factor is that if a parent or a sibling is the suggested offender, the other parent, or parents, may not be cooperative for many reasons.  The investigator should be aware at all times that a whole host of intrafamily dynamics exist which are very complex and often are neither rational nor reasonable.  DO NOT assume that any family member, including the victim, will leap to your side of the matter or welcome your intervention with open arms.  Some of the reasons for this are:

1. Disbelief.  They simply refuse to believe that parents would do such a thing to their own child.
2. Shame.  They are considering the community reaction first and foremost.  They could not live in that town again after this came out.
3. Fear.  They may fear the physical reaction of the offender, the offender's family, or the offender's friends.
4. Economics.  If the offender is the bread winner, the family could be plunged immediately into poverty if the offender loses a job.
5. "Love."  The non-offending parent may emotionally need the presence of the offender more than that parent cares about any abuse to the child.  The non-offending parent may feel that all would be lost without the offending parent present in the household.  Also, the non-offending parent may be aware of, but not a participant in, the abuse and have some concern about being embroiled in the criminal matter as a codefendant.
6. Rewards from abuser.  The victim may not perceive the incestuous relationship as bad since the victim may be getting extra advantages or preferred treatment from the offender.
7. Collateral issues.  There may be reasons other than the immediate incest problem that may concern them more, for instance, criminal enterprise activity.

The investigator has the potential to destroy their family.  He may be fought every step of the way.

The tactical problem is how to gain access to the child victim before other influence is brought to bear on the victim.  If the investigator waits too long, the offender may be able to influence the victim against the investigation.  Also, if a non-offending parent is aware of the problem, but has other concerns about safety, welfare and community status, the non-offending parent also may seek to influence the child against the investigation.

One possibility might be to interview the victim at school.  While this is not the optimum condition, it may be the only way to get to the victim before intervention by others.  If the interview is conducted at school, it should be conducted in a location where the interview will not be interrupted by persons coming and going.  The principal's office might be a choice, but you should consider that many children look to the principal's office as a place they are sent for punishment, not accolades.

If there is a school counselor, that office might be used.  The counselor is usually looked upon as a source of help or assistance by many children.  The infirmary, if there is one, should probably be avoided since it connotes a place where you go if you are injured and it is usually fairly busy.  Any other unused office is also a possible place for the interview.

If the victim is interviewed at school, the fact of that interview will be common knowledge throughout the student population within a very short period of time.  All schools have students working in the offices and at other locations.  When the victim is called from class and told to report to the office, curiosity will be aroused and the victim, upon return, will be questioned intently by other students, and possibly teachers.  There is also a tendency on the part of teachers and administrators to try to "help" the investigator.  This means that they will communicate among themselves the purpose of the interview and try to cover themselves if there is any possibility that adverse actions may fall back on them.  How much they know of the circumstances will depend upon the investigator and other factors such as if the first reporter was a teacher.

If school is not a possibility, then a little finesse is required on the part of the investigator.  The investigator should attempt to get the non-involved parent to bring the child to the police station for an interview.  This may be accomplished by the investigator approaching the non-offending parent in person when the victim is home, but the offending parent is not at home.  At least, at the police station, there is some control over the interview and you do not have to be concerned by the sudden appearance of the offending parent in the room.

If the offender is a sibling an interview at the home of the victim may be possible.  Once again, the investigator's instinct will have to lead on this situation.  The ultimate object is to obtain the information in as sterile a form as possible to reduce the influence of other factors.
  

Victims Other than Incest Victims

If the offender is not related directly to the victim as a parent or sibling then more firmly grounded procedures may be available to the investigator.  As an axiom, the more distant the relationship between the offender and the victim, the greater the cooperation of the victim's parents probably will be with the investigator keeping in mind general family concerns.

In those instances where the investigator has access to the child with the cooperation of the parents, the interview situation should be maximized toward obtaining as pure a statement as possible.  Part of this maximization includes:

1. A comfortable, neutral setting devoid of distracting influences.
2. Provisions for videotaping, or at a minimum audiotaping(21), the interview.
3. Obvious, detailed preparation by the investigator to include written questions.

If the investigator has not had significant experience interviewing children of the age of the victim, then consultation with a psychologist specializing in children is recommended.  Usually a nearby state university or state hospital has such persons on its staff.  At a minimum, some professional reading is in order.
  

All Victims:

During the interview, the investigator must cover the following areas with the victim:

1. Personal: name, address, names of siblings, names of parents.
2. Veracity: can the child differentiate between truth and falsehood?
3. Maturity: does the child have the motor movements and vocabulary expected of a child of that chronological age?
4. Time: can the child tell the time of day, day of week, months of the year, seasons?

Other considerations during the interview include:

1. The victim must be able to convince you that an offense actually occurred.
2. The victim must be able to positively identify the offender.
3. The victim must be able to convince other people (judge, jury) that an offense occurred.
4. Avoid leading questions.  Let the child tell you what occurred without suggesting answers or possible outcomes.
5.

Use the terms for actions, body parts, etc., used by the child.  Do not suggest new terms (e.g. "vagina" for "pee-pee").  Also, the investigator should beware of ambiguities when interviewing children.  BE SURE that you understand what a child means when the child uses a term.  Children may mean something entirely different from what you understand based on the way they use a word.  They may not fully understand the implications of the word usage.  For example, the word, "bottom," may mean vagina to one child and rectum or buttocks to another.  These distinctions may become crucial depending upon the construction of statutes regarding different degrees and types of sexual assault.

During the interview, even though the interview may be recorded on videotape or on audiotape, notes should be taken by the investigator or, preferably, by another investigator.  The reason for this is that electronic instruments fail.  If you do not take notes during the interview and the recording apparatus fails, you will have no record of the interview.  This presents several problems, not the least of which is being cross-examined on the witness stand by defense counsel about the "unrecorded" interview.

After the interview is concluded, the investigator should take a moment to randomly review his electronic tape to determine if, in fact, all systems operated properly and the interview was recorded.  If all is in order, the victim should be allowed to leave.  If for some reason there was a system failure, the interview should be conducted again immediately to avoid losing the information available at that point.  If a second interview is required, the questions and notes from the first interview should be used to insure that all areas are covered and that the second interview is in conformity with the first.  The equipment failure should be rectified and the second interview recorded as well.  DO NOT record over or use the original tape media used in the first interview.  Defense counsel will want to review it, test it and possibly use it in court.  If you do not have it, you may be accused of destroying exculpatory evidence.

Once the interview is successfully completed, the tapes and notes should be secured in the usual manner and in accordance with your physical evidence policies.  Always break off the erase tabs to avoid inadvertently erasing the tape while making a copy.  Make at least one copy of any video- or audiotape for use by the investigator or the prosecutor during the investigation.  Ultimately, the defense attorney will want to review the original tapes.  For ease in the investigation and for the prosecutor, a transcript should be made of any tape produced, even videotapes.
  

Subject Interviews

General Comments

Where flight by the suspect in the case is not highly likely, refrain from obtaining an arrest warrant until all investigative activity has been completed.  Arrests start various "speedy trial" statutes running and create a time delimitation for the investigator.  Even if the suspect flees, apprehension, except in the case of experienced career criminals, is usually just a matter of time.

The investigator may want to not even get a warrant, but take the matter directly to the Grand Jury.  An arrest results in a preliminary hearing, at which a good defense attorney will be able to do some early discovery.  Also, a politically sensitive, or inept, magistrate may not bind the matter over to the Grand Jury forcing the prosecutor and the investigator to go direct to the Grand Jury anyway.  So, if an arrest is not absolutely necessary, simply obtain an indictment by presentment before a Grand Jury.  In some states, a capias is issued on indictment and at that time, the suspect may be arrested.

Some interesting statistics offered by the FBI are:(22)

1. 71% of offenders are under 35 years of age.
2. The average age is 27 to 28 years of age.
3. More than 50% committed their first act by 16 years of age.
4. 80% of offenders knew their victims; 50% of offenders were a father figure.
5. Less than 30% of offenders were alcohol or drug dependent.
6. 83% of offenders were heterosexual; 17% were bisexual.

Approach

Before the investigator can structure his approach to the suspect, he needs to evaluate the suspect from the standpoint of trying to determine the best psychological technique to use.  Offenders are most commonly placed into two distinct categories, fixated and regressed.(23)
  

Fixated Offenders

These offenders have been sexually attracted to younger people since adolescence and will be so attracted throughout their entire lives.  During adolescence, they were not highly socialized and did not lead a "normal" social existence.  In adult life, they usually do not initiate mature, interpersonal sexual relationships.  They are capable of normal sexual acts, but these are usually situational.  Sexual attraction to children is not bothersome to these offenders because they do not see anything wrong with such activity.  These persons are basically inadequate personalities who fear rejection by a female, have inferiority complexes and engage in fantasy.  They have no regret and are usually only sorry that they got caught.

In interviewing this type of offender, empathy on the part of the investigator will be looked upon as a show of weakness by the offender.  The offender should be approached from the standpoint of trying to let the offender talk as much as possible.  He considers himself smart and believes he has done nothing wrong.  Ultimately, if the investigator has sufficient patience, the offender may outsmart himself.  Do not expect a confession from this offender.  If a confession is offered, it will usually be couched in terms of projecting guilt on others.
  

Regressed Offenders

These persons originally preferred peer heterosexual relationships and developed in a normal sociosexual fashion during adolescence.  During their life, they reach a point where something highly stressful occurs.  It may be a single traumatic event, or a series of events (e.g. financial trouble, unemployment, divorce, death of close relative or friend, alcohol or drug addiction, failure).  They turn to children for non-demanding affection and love.  It usually starts as a social contact and progresses from there to a sexual relationship.  The progression is usually fondling, kissing, hugging, oral, then genital contact.  These offenders are genuinely remorseful, ashamed, humiliated and have great guilt feelings.  This offender is a good candidate for suicide.

In interviewing this offender, remember that you are dealing with an inadequate personality.  Do not attack him.  Use empathy, explain that there is help available for him and that the condition is not irreversible.  A confession is likely.
  

Miranda Considerations

Investigators should be guided by their own departmental policies when it comes to subject interviews and/or arrest procedures.  The recommendations are offered here for the purpose of encouraging change in unnecessarily restrictive departmental policies.

In the original Miranda decision (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 346 [1966]), amplified in Beckwith v. US, 425 US 341, the Supreme Court told police officers that only when a person is in police custody (i.e. under arrest) is that person to be advised of four "rights":

1. The person may remain silent and not answer any questions.
2. Any answer may be taken down and used against the person later on in a legal action.
3. The person has aright to an attorney and to have that attorney present during any questioning.
4. If the person cannot afford an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent him for free.

There is no requirement for Miranda warnings when the person is only the focus of an investigation and not in custody.  In order to legally interview a person in custody, the investigator need only insure that the person fully understands the four rights that have been explained to him and that he wishes voluntarily, of his own free will, to answer questions posed by the investigator.  A written waiver is not required.  An oral waiver is sufficient, as long as the interviewee acknowledges that he fully understands each of the rights as they were explained to him.

If the offender is not in custody, his freedom of movement is not precluded in any meaningful sense, and there is no "coercive" environment, then MIRANDA WARNINGS ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LAW.

A suggested manner of beginning the interview is to advise the suspect that he is not under arrest and that the investigator merely wants to interview him regarding a matter under investigation.  If you are in a police building or any other official building, you might also want to advise the subject that he is free to leave at any time.  This will help to preclude the accusation of "coercive atmosphere" (See Oregon v. Mathiason, 429 US 492 [1977]).

The interview should be tape recorded from beginning to end.  This will provide a complete record of the interview for later use and will provide ample proof that the subject was advised that he was not in custody, was free to go, and that any of his answers were voluntary.  If the interview is not recorded, it is a good practice to have one other investigator present as a witness.  Check on your individual state laws regarding the recording of interviews without the knowledge of the suspect.  Most states allow recording of conversations as long as the investigator is a party to the conversation.  Some prosecutors may have some concern about recording of an interview without the knowledge of the suspect.  These concerns are usually cosmetic in nature and have nothing to do with the legality of the recording.

If the subject is in custody, then the tape recording will show that all the proper warnings were given and that the subject fully understood and knowledgeably waived those rights.

One final consideration.  If at any time the suspect, in custody or not, tells you that he wants an attorney, or that he no longer wishes to answer questions, stop asking questions at that moment and terminate the interview.  If the investigator proceeds carefully, and in accordance with the law, there is less likelihood of a court throwing out statements and other evidence.
  

The Interview

After evaluating the offender typology and making an initial determination as to the type of offender being faced, the investigator should proceed in a quiet, professional manner.  Initially, obtain the basic biographic data and attempt to establish some rapport with the suspect.  By starting off softly, the investigator will not scare a regressed offender and will allow the fixated offender an opportunity to demonstrate how "smart" he is.  As the interview progresses, the investigator should adopt the necessary interview strategy that best fits his personality and the background, education and typology of the suspect being interviewed.

With the fixated offender, the investigator's primary goal will be to obtain information that is inconsistent with known facts.  This will demonstrate, hopefully, that the suspect is lying.  Since a confession is not likely, obtaining such inconsistent statements is probably the most valuable thing that can occur.

With the regressed offender, the investigator's primary object will be to gain his confidence and obtain a confession.  The suspect wants to change because he knows his conduct is wrong.  The investigator is offering him the opportunity to unload his guilt on a sympathetic ear.  He hopes that by confessing, he will get help and will no longer have to bear the burden of what he is doing.  Often, the confession will come in stages, with the initial stages being those where the suspect excuses his conduct, or attempts to minimize or rationalize his conduct.  Once started, the suspect will usually wind up confessing completely.

Regardless of the typology of the offender, it is preferable to obtain a written statement from the interviewee.  This is necessary to lock the fixated offender into his story and help the regressed offender unload some of his guilt.  The statement should be brought up only after the interview is completely through.  Some people will talk to you as long as they are not thinking that what they are saying is going to be reduced to some concrete form, like a statement.  The minute the realization comes on them that the final product will be something that others can read, or see, they will terminate the interview.

Where possible, let the suspect write out the statement in his own handwriting.  The handwritten statement can be typewritten at a later date for ease of reading.  An alternative is for the investigator to write the statement out for the suspect and have the suspect adopt the statement by signing it.  If this latter method is used, read the statement out loud as it is being written.  This will offer the suspect the opportunity to make any corrections at that point rather than trying to shoehorn a correction into an already written statement.  Have the suspect read the statement, initial any corrections that have been made and sign the statement in the presence of a witness other than the interviewing investigator.
  

Post-interview

Some consideration should be given to investigative activities immediately after the interview with the suspect.  This is particularly true if there has been a confession.  A regressed offender may be suicidal after having confessed.  Too, this would be a good time to evaluate the escape risk for a fixated offender.  Pre-interview liaison with the prosecutor should cover these contingencies.  The prosecutor may want to have a warrant issued and the suspect arrested, if that has not been done already.  Or, the prosecutor may want to await further investigation if a confession has not been obtained.

In any event, the suspect should be left so that the investigator could possibly reapproach him in the future.  Politeness and common courtesy go a long way toward assuring that.
  

Case Preparation and Conclusion

The investigator should have interviewed the victim, the first reporter, all known witnesses and the suspect before considering a case ready for presentation to the prosecutor.  Although the investigator will probably have had regular contact with the prosecutor throughout the investigation, the investigator usually is the one who determines when the investigation is complete.

The investigator should make sure all the following points have been covered.

1. All interviews conducted; written statements in file; memoranda of interviews typed and in file; tapes transcribed and tapes in file; confessions in file.
2. All forensic evidence testing complete and lab reports in file; any physical evidence secured, properly tagged and chain of evidence accounted for.
3. Criminal history checks on ALL witnesses and the suspect.(24)  Copies of rap sheets in file.
4. Any photographic line ups used are in the file.
5.

List of all witnesses, including law enforcement witnesses, to include addresses and phone numbers.

6. Any photographs, including negatives, in file.
7. Investigative report, in the format prescribed by department, complete, signed and in file.

The investigation is now complete and the matter is ready for presentation to the prosecutor and, ultimately, to the Grand Jury.
  

Footnotes Part II

(14) Some of those persons listed may be part of the nuclear family.  For instance a grandfather maybe living with the family in the same house.  Where that is the case, many of the same problems exist similar to those where a parent is the offender.  [Back]
(15) As a rule of thumb, let the news media obtain information from documents in the court file which are public record.  The indictment, the affidavit for the arrest warrant, and various discovery replies will contain a wealth of information for the interested reporter.  [Back]
(16) Two very recent Federal appeals courts cases point up the ability of otherwise protected individuals to lose that protection as a result of giving news media releases.  Gobel v. Maricopa County et al., 87-2351, USCA9, decided Feb. 9, 1989.  Hendricks v. Gunnell et al., 86-2905, 87-1720, and 87-1069, USCA10, decided July 21, 1989.  [Back]
(17) Wakefield, Hollida, and Ralph Underwager. Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse (Hardcover)(Paperback). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1988.  [Back]
(18) Underwager, Ralph and Hollida Wakefield. The Real World of Child Interrogations (Hardcover). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1989.  [Back]
(19)

See Hertica, footnote 5 supra; Burgess, Ann W. et al. Sexual Assault of Children and Adolescents. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath Co., 1978; Shepherd, Jack R. "Children as Burn Victims," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 1987, pp.9-14.  [Back]

(20) Lanning, Kenneth V. and Roy R. Hazelwood. "The Maligned Investigator of Criminal Sexuality," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September 1988, pp.1-10.  [Back]
(21) When making tapes always try to use good microphones and try to get the child to speak up.  In many instances, children have very soft voices and are hard to hear on tape.  If necessary, place the microphone as near the child as possible.  Investigators usually have voices that are easily heard on tape.  [Back]
(22) Lecture by Special Agent William McArdle, FBI, at Charleston, WV, October 1, 1985.  [Back]
(23) A newer typology suggested in some FBI training divides pedophiles into two categories: Situational and Preferential.  The Situational offender is further divided into four subcategories: Regressed, Morally Indiscriminate, Sexually Indiscriminate and Inadequate.  The Preferential offender is subdivided into three categories: Seduction, Introverted and Sadistic.  [Back]
(24) Many states have a discovery rule which requires the prosecutor to provide the defense with the criminal history sheets of all witnesses the state intends to call.  Obviously, it is better to know everything about your witnesses before you indicate who you are going to use just in case one of them may have a problem that would jeopardize an otherwise good case.  For instance, a witness may have a previous conviction for child molesting, or perjury, both of which might make the witness unsuitable.  [Back]

[Part I]  [Part II]  [Part III]  Part IV[Part V]

* John Wideman is an Attorney at Law and can be contacted at Wideman & Associates, Inc., PO Box 507, St. Albans, WV 25177.  [Back]

[Back to Volume 2, Number 1]  [Other Articles by this Author]

 
Copyright 1989-2014 by the Institute for Psychological Therapies.
This website last revised on April 15, 2014.
Found a non-working link?  Please notify the Webmaster.