43-year-old handyman (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was working at an apartment complex in Mountain View, where he also lives, until recently when he was accused of child molestation of 2 sisters who are residents there. According to the girls (aged 7 and 10 years), he tricked them into going into out of the way areas of the complex, where he proceeded to touch them inappropriately. The allegations are that he did not molest the girls at the same time, but on separate occasions and separately. Local law enforcement officials were alerted to the alleged abuse when the 2 girls told their parents of their claims.
The future may look bleak indeed for the handyman. California law is strict when it comes to the sexual abuse of children (CA Penal Code 288, “Lewd Acts with a Child”). The law provides for harsh penalties when an adult touches a child’s body in a sexual way. In order to be convicted of this crime, you need not touch a child under the age of 14 on any sexual organ. Even ‘over the clothes’ touching on, for example, a child’s knee is covered under the law, as long as sexual gratification is the intent.
If convicted, he faces an 8 year period of incarceration in a California state prison. On the other hand, if prosecutors can prove that he used force, he may end up spending up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, he will have to register as a sex offender for his lifetime. Any time that the alleged victim is under the age of 14, the state of California will consider ‘lewd acts’ crimes to be a felony.