The trial commenced today for a Sandy, Utah school bus driver who is facing molestation charges for inappropriately touching young girls on his bus last year. 61 year old John Martin Carrell faces over 30 counts of molestation charges for allegedly touching two 5 year old girls while he buckled them into their seats.
Molestation is known by law as sexual abuse. According to Utah Code 96-5-404 “A person commits sexual abuse of a child if, under circumstances not amounting to rape of a child, object rape of a child, sodomy on a child, or an attempt to commit any of these offenses, the actor touches the anus, buttocks, or genitalia of any child, the breast of a female child, or otherwise takes indecent liberties with a child, or causes a child to take indecent liberties with the actor or another with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person regardless of the sex of any participant. Sexual abuse of a child is a second degree felony.” In cases such as Carrell’s, because he was in a position of trust as a school district bus driver, if convicted he could face aggravated sexual abuse which is a first degree felony.
Evidence or lack thereof
While video surveillance showing Carrell spending an excessive amount of time buckling the victims in could possibly seal his fate, often there is no video to incriminate or exonerate the suspect. Besides testimony from the victim, the only evidence usually available in molestation cases is evidence apparent to a physician. Even then, it doesn’t always pinpoint the right suspect. With evidence typically being based solely on testimony, it makes one wonder how many charges are false.
Molestation charges often fabricated
Molestation cases against various people such as bus drivers are frequently showing up in the news and occasionally are found to be fabricated stories. This is extremely unfortunate for those falsely accused of the charges, as it may negatively impact their current and future employment. This may be the case for 44 year old Enrique Napoles of Miami. Napoles was charged with molestation in late February when a student on his private bus claimed he had molested her while they were alone on the bus. After no evidence or witness testimony was found to support the charges, the prosecution dropped the charges. Nothing is known as to whether or not Napoles remained employed with the company; nevertheless many assume they wouldn’t continue to employ someone who had been charged with molestation of a child.
Who makes up the stories?
When someone is found to be innocent of molestation charges, a typical thought after the initial skepticism is: the victim needed attention or was mad at the suspect. While this may be true in a few cases, there are other reasons why people are falsely accused of molestation.
• A child who was in fact molested, but chooses to blame another for reasons such as fear or shame.
• Parents and/or caretakers who notice the child behaving abnormally and proceed to make assumptions.
• Teachers & counselors seeing or hearing about questionable behavior at school, and follow up with a call to law enforcement.
• Someone besides the victim who is angry or otherwise upset with the accused. They may try to punish or hurt the accused by making false allegations.
Besides those strictly out for attention or revenge, these are frequently honest mistakes of an adult seeing “red flags” and making the phone calls that they feel are necessary.
Permanent damage to criminal record
Even if someone is not convicted of molestation or sexual abuse their criminal record may still list the fact that they were arrested for it. Employers are privy to this information before hiring and they don’t always distinguish between convicted and arrested. This can make it difficult for falsely accused individuals to work in employment where children are located such as schools. For information on how you can protect or clean your record or for help in defending yourself against fabricated or factual molestation charges, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.