Can Minors Be Registered Sex Offenders?

Criminal sexual conduct against a child is taken very seriously in the United States, and for good reason. When adults commit such horrific crimes, it can impact the child’s psyche and wellbeing for the rest of their lives. However, some children are victimized by these very same laws, when overzealous prosecutors mark juveniles as sex offenders.

Examples of Juvenile Sex Offenders

Across the country, there are many instances where current laws against child sexual abuse have been invoked to ruin the lives of children. Leah DuBuc, who was only ten years old at the time of her supposed crime, was charged with eight counts of criminal sexual conduct for “play-acting sex” with her step-siblings at a school playground. Even as an adult woman, Ms. DuBuc was forced to register as a sex offender, perpetually haunted by this one act of inappropriate play as a child.

Ms. DuBuc is far from the only victim of oppressive sex offender registry laws. In a report compiled by Human Rights Watch, a man identified as Jacob C. was charged with sexual misconduct for touching his sister’s genitals at age 11. Although he was convicted in a juvenile court, his subsequent placement on the Michigan sex offender registry condemned him to the foster care system, followed by years of threats, daily police check-ins, and eventually homelessness.

When Can Children Be Charged with Sex Crimes?

In Massachusetts, a minor can be charged with sexual misconduct or other sex offenses, although whether the case ends up in juvenile or adult court will depend greatly on their age and the age of their alleged victim. In theory, the severity of the crime is also taken into consideration – but as the previous examples illustrate, that isn’t always the case. Under the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registration Act, anyone found guilty of a sex offense must register as an offender, and in most cases the duration of their registry will be 20 years.

So what does this mean for a Massachusetts child accused of a sex crime? It means that even a 15-year old who posts their own nude selfie online could be charged with manufacturing child pornography, and branded a predator into their late thirties. It means that young children who never had the chance to learn about physical boundaries can be treated like criminals for decades. As in the cases of Ms. DuBuc and Jacob C., we see how a child’s life can be impacted by their sex offender status, even when the statistics show that most juvenile offenders do not repeat their crimes.

What Can I Do If My Child Is Accused?

When your own child has been accused of a similar crime, it’s critical that you work with a skilled Boston sex crimes attorney to challenge these charges and fight back against careless prosecutors. Without experienced legal counsel, your child could join hundreds of juvenile sex offenders on national and state registries, even for exhibiting relatively normal curiosity.

At Brad Bailey Law, we can give you the serious defense you need for such serious matters. As a former federal prosecutor, our lead attorney Brad Bailey knows how to create a winning defense for the unjustly accused, and he is committed to fighting for your child’s future. With thousands of charges successfully appealed and reduced, Brad has shown that he can get results for his clients.

Do you need assistance with fighting juvenile sex offense charges? Don’t hesitate to contact Brad Bailey Law at (617) 500-0252 for your consultation.

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