Yesterday, someone claiming to be speaking on behalf of Mercedes Carrera gave a statement to XBIZ.
In the statement, Mercedes claimed the victim was her 9-year-old daughter and the charges were filed by her daughter’s father — her ex, who is a fundamentalist Christian who was trying to take custody of the minor child.
Being from the south, I’m not exactly unfamiliar with this tactic when it comes to child custody cases. But still, something about this particular case and her statements wasn’t sitting right with me. So I decided to speak with an expert, a divorce attorney that specializes in child custody cases. She had been practicing law for almost 25 years. She agreed to speak to me off the record, in an unofficial capacity, based on her own personal experience.
The lawyer told me that accusations of sexual misconduct were common in child custody cases. She said if she had to put a number to it, she would say probably as many as 20% of the cases she’s worked on over the last two and a half decades involved those type of accusations. But only one in all that time has ever resulted in actual charges.
The police and the district attorney’s office are well aware of this tactic in custody cases. They have heard it all and are trained to look out for it. That’s why you rarely get a DA willing to file charges when these type of accusations are made. They will never just take the word of a child, or the ex. You have to have some sort of corroborating evidence, something that proves there was actually a crime committed.
When a parent levels accusations of sexual misconduct against their ex, the police may take a report but more often than not, that’s where it dies. It almost never goes any further than the initial review and when no evidence comes forth, the case is closed.
The district attorney is never going to agree to take on a case they know they can’t win. They need evidence, not just someone’s word that something happened. If there are no witnesses to the crime, then what?
There will be a medical exam of the minor child. There are often times signs of abuse that a trained medical professional can find, especially in the cases of sodomy (which there are charges of in this case). This medical report alone isn’t enough though. The victim will also have to meet with a child psychologist and sexual abuse advocate who are also trained to spot signs of coaching, which is where one parent may have helped the child with her story.
Even with all of those things, there is still only a small percentage of these cases that are actually pursued by the DA’s office.
They aren’t just going to charge someone with a crime because their ex said so.
Now read this line from the police statement after the arrest … “A search of the residence was conducted, and detectives located a large amount of evidence corroborating the victim’s statement.”
My legal expert tells me that if they didn’t have some actual evidence, they would have just charged Mercedes Carrera and Daemon Cris with the drug and gun charges. They would have then continued their investigation into the child molestation and if they found evidence then added on to those initial drug/gun charges.
This means that they had some sort of solid evidence, something strong enough that the DA felt comfortable taking on this case.
They do not charge someone based on the victim’s word alone.
So keep that in mind when reading the statement put out by Mercedes Carrera’s former publicist.