If you are charged with child molestation, cruelty to children, or any crime, in Georgia, where a child is the alleged victim, the State will fie a Motion to Admit Child Hearsay testimony.
This is pursuant to O.C.G.A. 24-8-820. This status is the Georgia Child Hearsay Statute.
O.C.G.A. 24-8-820 reads as follows:
(a) A statement made by a child younger than 16 years of age describing any act of sexual contact or physical abuse performed with or on such child by another or with or on another in the presence of such child shall be admissible in evidence by the testimony of the person to whom made if the proponent of such statement provides notice to the adverse party prior to trial of the intention to use such out-of-court statement and such child testifies at trial, unless the adverse party forfeits or waives such child’s testimony as provide in this title, and, at the time of the testimony regarding the out-of-court statements, the person to whom the child made such statement is subject to cross-examination regarding the out-of-court statements.
All that is required is:
- Notice to the defendant of the State’s intention to use such statements.
- The child testifying at trial, unless the defendant waives it.
- The person to whom the statements were made is subject to cross-examination.
You will need to be prepared to challenge the credibility and the underlying facts of any witness who takes the stand against you and claims that the child made statements to them about the sexual contact or physical abuse. Do not waive the child’s presence at trial. Make the child testify.
In cases of child molestation, there is rarely physical evidence. The entire case comes down to credibility. It is the defendant’s credibility vs. the child’s and the child’s witness’s credibility. Do not forfeit the right to a thorough cross-examination of the child and their witnesses.
These child hearsay witnesses can include testimony of physicians, investigators, parents, other family members, forensic interviewers and any other person who spoke to the child about the allegations.
You must be prepared to challenge each of these statements.
Child Molestation and Cruelty to Children carry severe penalties in Georgia. Do not make statements to the police about the allegations. You must hire a qualified attorney and be prepared to vigorously fight your case at trial.
Please call us at 404-581-0999 if you are charged with any crime involving a child in Georgia.