New Law Could See Parents Charged For Changing Baby's Nappy
A ruling by the Supreme Court could see parents charged with sexual abuse just for changing their child's nappy.
The decision, made by the state of Arizona recently, interprets any contact between an adult and a child's genitals to be a criminal offence, according to The Irish Independent.
An examination of the state's law was prompted by an appeal lodged by a man who had been convicted for sexually molesting his step-daughter; the new ruling now classes child sex abuse as "intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under 15 years of age."
"The statute says 'intentionally or knowingly' having sexual contact," explained legal analyst Monica Lindstrom. "Sexual contact is just the direct or indirect touching of the genitals.
"That is where the changing of the diaper could come into play."
While the decision comes with the disclaimer that: "Prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents, physicians and the like when the evidence demonstrates the presence of an affirmative defense", some judges have already flagged their concerns.
"Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant's soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony."
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