A daycare worker in Port Orchard is being accused of child molestation. While the charges are severe and carry heavy penalties, they fall outside the purview of Washington's domestic violence laws because they do not involve a “family or household member,” and so do not warrant the extra protections that those laws offer victims.
Domestic violence defense lawyer Steve Karimi explains why this is the case.
Daycare Worker Charged With Child Molestation
The allegations surround a daycare center run by a husband and wife out of their home in Port Orchard.
According to initial reports, one of the children at the daycare told her parents what the 58-year-old husband did, and that it happened more than once. When the wife running the daycare heard about the rumors, she scheduled a counseling session with a therapist for herself and her husband. What the therapist heard during the counseling session required them to notify the police.
The husband is now facing criminal charges for rape and child molestation in the first degree.
Penalties for Class A Felonies in Washington
Both of the allegations that the husband is facing are Class A felonies. This means that a conviction on either one can end with a fine of up to $50,000 and a jail sentence with no fixed maximum – a life sentence is possible.
Allegations Fall Outside the Realm of Domestic Violence
The allegations that the husband is facing, though, fall outside the realm of domestic violence because crimes of domestic violence have to involve a purported victim who is a “family or household member” of the defendant, as defined by RCW 10.99.020(3). This limitation draws a line around the types of relationship that a defendant has to have to the alleged victim in order to trigger the additional repercussions of a domestic violence offense, which are meant to prevent the closeness of the relationship from leading to further harm.
The types of relationships that make someone a “family or household member” of the defendant include any of the following.
- Current and former spouses.
- Parents of a particular child.
- Adults related to each other by blood or marriage.
- Adults who currently live together, or who used to live together.
- People over 16 who have dated and who live together or used to live together.
- A biological or legal parent-child relationship.
The point behind limiting domestic violence offenses to these types of relationships is that the people in these kinds of relationships have only a limited ability to avoid the person they are accusing of domestic violence. Alleged victims who are not in these close relationships would not benefit from the mandatory arrests and restraining orders that domestic violence accusations can quickly lead to.
Steve Karimi Defends Those Accused of Domestic Violence in Seattle
Domestic violence laws offer purported victims lots of protections – all of them at the expense of the person they are accusing. When allegations, even very serious ones, involve someone who is not a family or household member, those protections would do far more harm than good.
If you have been accused of domestic violence in Seattle, reach out to defense lawyer Steve Karimi. Contact him online or call his law office at (206) 621-8777.