A common perception when it comes to child abuse is that step children are more susceptible to being abused by their non-biological parent than a biological parent. One recent case here in California, the People v. Poletti, only added to this belief.
The step daughter of the defendant in the case accused her step father, Anthony Achilles Poletti, of child abuse and molestation from the time she was 10 years old to when she was 15 years old. These charges ranged from the possession of child pornography to rape and aggravated sexual assault in numerous forms. Poletti was convicted of 15 felonies and was only acquitted of one due to lack of evidence.
Are Step Children More Susceptible to Child Molestation?
A lot of statistical information has been thrown around regarding the likelihood of step children or children with non-biological people living in the home being abused. But one preliminary study which was conducted by Dr. Stewart J. D’Alessio and Dr. Lisa Stolzenberg of the Department of Criminal Justice at Florida’s International University shed some light on the issue.
D’Alessio and Stolzenberg examined data from 133 US cities, and focused on two key items:
- The biological statics of the children involved
- The socioeconomic conditions of their environment
It was found that any children who were living in disadvantaged communities were at a higher risk of molestation and abuse than those living in more affluent communities. However, it was also found that there was no evidence suggesting that a step child was at any higher risk of molestation than biological children unless they lived in a disadvantaged community.
Know the Signs
Not every child will tell you that he or she is being molested, and children of every income level can be affected. Below are just some of the signs of which to be aware:
- The child is acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys, objects, etc.
- The child has become reclusive and secretive
- The child is angrier than before
- The child does not want to be alone with a certain person or in a certain place
At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we make it our mission to hold the perpetrators of child abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we have been able to obtain for our young victims will never replace what was lost, but it will help pave the road to recovery.
Call us today to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional and compassionate Cifarelli Law attorney, at (949) 502-8600.