Michigan CSC Trial: Medical Experts
Medical experts can be used in child sexual abuse cases to testify that certain injuries are consistent or inconsistent with sexual abuse. The prosecutor may present evidence of tearing or scarring of the vaginal wall, hymen, or anus. The prosecutor will use its own witness to give an opinion that the injuries are consistent with sexual abuse. The defense can hire an additional expert to review the evidence and consider the possibility that the injuries could have been caused by accidental means, such as gymnastics or biking. The defense expert may also be able to discern that the injuries were caused by consensual sexual activity with someone other than the accused. The sooner the child is examined by a medical professional, the greater the chances of there being medical evidence. If the child is not examined within approximately 72 hours after the alleged abuse occurred, it becomes less likely that the medical professional will find evidence of sexual abuse. Whether there is a physical injury present depends on a variety of factors, including the age of the child, the amount of force used on the child, the use of lubricant, and the size of the penetrating object.
Using DNA and Bodily Fluids to Build a CSC Case
Medical experts can also testify that bodily fluids were found on the child accuser. These bodily fluids include sperm, seminal fluid, saliva, and blood. DNA can be isolated from these bodily fluids, but can also be isolated from skin and hair root. DNA evidence is a reliable method of placing an individual at a crime scene, so the defense attorney should cross examine the prosecution’s medical expert to determine if the DNA evidence was handled properly and inquire about any possibilities for contamination.
A medical expert may also testify to whether the child accuser has a sexually transmitted infection. In sexually active teenagers or young adults, it can be difficult to determine whether a sexually transmitted infection is the result of sexual abuse. However, the presence of certain sexually transmitted infection in children and young teenagers provides strong evidence of sexual abuse. The presence of gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV/AIDS in children and young teenagers is persuasive evidence of sexual abuse. A defense expert may testify that the transmission of those diseases was caused by something other than sexual contact, including transmission from mother to baby at birth.
Finally, a medical expert may testify as to whether the child accuser became pregnant. Pregnancy is proof of sexual intercourse, and the prosecutor may use genetic testing to establish paternity.
Don’t Trust the Prosecutor’s Expert in a CSC Trial
The defense should always hire an expert if finances allow, even if the prosecution’s medical evidence seems solid. Often, even of the prosecution’s expert gives a pre-trial statement that his helpful to the defense, or if the prosecution’s expert will be testifying to something that is not in dispute, prosecution witnesses have a habit of exaggerating their opinions during trial. They may do this to better fit the prosecution’s theory of the case, especially if the case is not going well for the prosecution. A defense expert will be used once the defense attorney pokes holes in the prosecution witness’s testimony, and the defense expert will be used to solidify the defense theory.
The experienced attorneys of Grabel & Associates know how to properly use medical experts as part of their aggressive defense strategy. Our case analysts are available 24/7 to speak with you about the specific facts of your case and how you can begin to build a solid defense strategy at 1-800-677-9795 or use the contact us form.