Defending CPS and ACS Investigations Involving Allegations of Sexual Abuse

The Investigation

Defending CPS and ACS Investigations Involving Allegations of Sexual AbuseNumerous individuals are considered mandatory reporters. The individuals considered mandatory reporters include guidance counselors, teachers, nurses, doctors, therapists and police officers. These individuals are required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS) or Association of Child Services (ACS). Any individual can place an anonymous call to CPS or ACS and report activity involving child abuse or child neglect of any type. Almost immediately after these calls, if they are thought to be credible, an investigator is sent to the home where the alleged child abuse of child neglect took place.

False Reports Of Sexual Abuse

ACS and CPS manuals only mention issues involving false child sexual abuse reports. However, child protection investigators and police officers are not trained in the area of false sexual abuse investigations. When sexual abuse allegations are made and they are usually assumed by the investigators to be true. What is not taken into consideration is the dynamics of the relationship between the patents. Also not taken into consideration are the age and susceptibility of the child to false statements which have been placed in the child’s head and rehearsed by one parent against another.

Therapy Problems

In cases involving child abuse CPS and ACS sometimes recommend victims to enter into a sexual abuse treatment program. These programs have two types of therapies. Directive and non-directive play therapy. Play therapy involves a child playing with an anatomically detailed dolls, puppets drawings and sand trays. Unfortunately these types of therapies can be misguided. They can potentially treat a non-sexually abused child as a victim of sexual abuse. This can be the cause of adverse child experiences in children.

What to Do If Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

The first thing an individual should do if accused of child sexual abuse is to hire an attorney to defend these types of allegations. The accused person should not be interviewed without consulting with an attorney who has an expertise in this area of the law.

The Presumption of Guilt

CPS and ACS will presume the allegations children make are true. They believe whatever the child states even if it is impractical. It must be pointed out approximately 95% of all child sexual assault allegations have no medical findings or trauma. The standard in Family Courts is what is in the child’s best interest. It is often found in the child’s best interest to take no chance and even a wrongly accused person should be prevented from having further exposure to the child who was allegedly sexually abused. In many cases Father’s and Step-Fathers are falsely accused of child sexual abuse. Judges are educated to be cautious. The standard isn’t truth or innocence when there are sexual abuse allegations. The standard is what is in the child’s best interest. Judge’s are often concerned about being accused of failure to protect innocent children. Unfortunately this can trample the rights of the accused father.


If there are allegations of improper sexual conduct involving a child, an individual exposed to these allegation must immediately retain an attorney that has an expertise in defending against ACS and CPS investigations of this type.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a divorce lawyer representing men and women throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached at or 800-344-6431.