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Exclusive Q & A with Paul J. Wallin about the Myths of Accused Child Molesters
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Guest post written by: Nabeal Twereet, writer for LawCrossing.com

Paul J. Wallin is a founding partner at Wallin & Klarich, a criminal defense firm based in Tustin, CA. He is also an expert on the myths of accused child molesters. The following took place during a phone interview with Mr. Wallin, and contains some content that may be disturbing to some readers, so please proceed with caution.

  
What
Where


How long have you been practicing law?

“36 years.”

How has Wallin & Klarich changed since you founded it in 1981?

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He explained that when he founded his firm with his law partner, they had only one legal assistant. Today, the firm has fifteen lawyers and forty employees. Mr. Wallin claimed, “The size of the firm has changed and the cases we handle have changed dramatically. We handle serious cases.”

Your area of expertise includes Criminal Defense, Juvenile Dependency, and Family Law. What area of the law are you most passionate about?



He said he is most passionate about Juvenile Dependency. Mr. Wallin believes that many times children are taken from their parents by social workers without “legal cause.” Often, these children have never spent one night away from their parents, and it is extremely traumatic for them. Mr. Wallin fights to have these children returned to their parents in cases where the children are not at risk. He added, “It is rewarding and satisfying to see children back with their families.”

Is there an area of practice you would like to develop further into?

He stated that he represented two clients who were sexually abused. Mr. Wallin successfully won monetary damages for his clients from the sexual perpetrator. The defense attorney expressed that his firm would like to represent more sexually abused victims and see that the perpetrators of sexual abuse pay for the damages that they have caused.

Do you consider yourself an expert on child molesters?

“I don’t consider myself an expert on child molesters, but I do think I am an expert in the area of what happens when a person is accused of child molestation.”

How are you qualified as an expert in the area of child molesters?

“No other law firm in California has represented more persons accused of child molestation than our law firm. We have been helping persons wrongfully accused of this crime for over 30 years.” Mr. Wallin noted that his law firm has represented more than a thousand cases of accused child molesters during the course of his career.

How do you identify a child molester?

 

He said you couldn’t identify a child molester by the way he/she looks or acts. However, Mr. Wallin acknowledged that there are certain psychological characteristics that define child molesters. He works with leading forensic psychologists who have years of experience working with convicted child molesters in state prisons. These experts can administer a battery of tests to “known” child molesters to determine what type of person “fits the profile” of someone who might molest a child. One of these tests that are given to those accused of child molestation is a test where a special device is attached to the person’s penis. This test evaluates the person’s response to certain “sexual behavior” which helps the expert determine if the person being tested is likely to molest a child. Mr. Wallin pointed out that this test is one of a complete battery of tests that Mr. Wallin’s clients undergo over a two-day period.

 

What are the most common myths associated with accused child molesters?

“The most common myth is that a child molester lurks in a community and is waiting to pull a child in his/her car. The fact is that ninety percent of molesters will first establish a relationship with the alleged victim before molestation occurs.”

Can a convicted child molester be rehabilitated after serving their sentence?

Mr. Wallin asserted that most convicted child molesters suffer from mental illness. However, the problem with our California penal system is that child molesters sent to prison do not get treatment for their illness. After they serve time in prison, they are released into the community “untreated.” This means they are often a risk to molest again. Mr. Wallin believes that this is something that has to be corrected or incidents of molestation will likely increase.

Mr. Wallin pointed out that there is a system in place where some persons serving time in prison for sexual offenses may not be released into the community when their sentence is completed. Instead, if the prison mental health professionals believe that the prisoner is a serious risk to reoffend, they can recommend that he/she be sent to a mental health facility where they would live until they are no longer a risk. The prison has the right to a hearing to challenge that determination.

Most people believe a child molester will strike again, that it’s only a matter of time before they assault their next victim. Do you concur with this statement?

He said there is no clear yes or no answer. From his experience defending child molesters, he has only heard that one of his prior clients was accused of molesting a child again. Mr. Wallin pointed out that persons that molest a child do so under many different circumstances. Some persons will do so after they have become very intoxicated. Others do so under the influence of narcotics. When these persons are “tested,” they normally do not have a sexual interest in children. However, due to the level of their intoxication, they “acted out” on one occasion. In these types of cases, if the person receives treatment for their alcohol or drug problem and also receives therapy, there is a high chance that the person will not repeat the behavior.

In other cases, a person molests a child because they have a sexual interest in children. These persons must be treated extensively, and, often, they are placed in inpatient hospitals for that purpose. Whether these persons can be “cured” can best be answered by the mental health professionals who are experts in this field.

What can parents and the community they live in do when a child molester moves into their neighborhood?

On July 29, 1994, Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by her neighbor, Jesse K. Timmendequas in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, NJ. The murder of the seven-year-old girl received national attention and subsequently led to the introduction of “Megan’s Law.” The law requires law enforcement to disclose details regarding the location of registered sex offenders. According to Mr. Wallin, California penal code 290 states that a convicted child molester who is released to society must register with Megan’s Law, even if he/she moves. A sex offender can’t live two thousand yards from a school or park.

Parents need to be familiar with this website, and that way, they can know where convicted child molesters reside. Of course, they can take steps to make sure that their children do not go near a residence where a convicted child molester resides.

Why are most child molesters males?

“Ninety-five percent of sex offenders we represented were males, but they are not all males. I represented two female teachers who had sex with their sixteen and seventeen-year-old students.”

What can child molesters do for themselves to prevent them from continuing to harm children?

Mr. Wallin said child molesters must receive intense and long-term therapy. He continued to say that many persons who molest a child do so while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However many other persons commit an act of child molestation when they are not intoxicated. Mr. Wallin also emphasized that child molesters first develop a close bond with children before they molest their victims. It would be very important for a person who might have a tendency to molest children to not be allowed to be in a position where they are around children.

Do you speak frequently about this issue? If so, what are your top tips for parents so they can keep their children safe at all times from child molesters?

“I speak often to teachers about this issue. My tips are to first discuss how to report suspected child abuse. I tell teachers that they have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse, and if they fail to do so, they can go to jail. I also discuss with teachers how they can minimize the chances of being falsely accused of child molestation.



 

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