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Defending the Innocent
Areas of Practice
 • False Allegations of Sexual Abuse
 • Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy
 • Shaken Baby Syndrome
 • Parental Alienation Syndrome
 • Probate, Estate, and Trust Litigation

Zachary Bravos
Phone: 630.510.1300
E-mail: zacharybravos@gmail.com

We have defended against false allegations of child sexual abuse for over 20 years. We have defended the falsely accused in criminal, family, and juvenile courts in states across the country.

The defense of false accusations involves many interrelated subjects, each of which should be familiar to the practitioner. Moreover, the same accusations may be at issue simultaneously in criminal court, juvenile court, and family or divorce court. Thus the accused is often fighting a multi-front battle. It is imperative that the accused has counsel competent in all of the different forums in which the abuse allegations are at issue.

Knowledge of a wide variety of interrelated subjects and disciplines is necessary in order to mount an effective defense. These include:

Psychological Evaluations: Familiarity with all of the ramifications of evaluations, their impact, and how to recognize valid from invalid evaluations and the limitations of the evaluation process.

Psychometric Test Validity: Understanding objective and subjective psychological testing, and the demonstrated validity and reliability of the testing used.

Children's Drawings: In spite of a lack of demonstrated validity, some assessments still contain an evaluation of the drawings or other artwork produced by the alleged victim.

Anatomical Dolls: Even though largely discredited as being unduly suggestive, so-called anatomically correct dolls are still sometimes utilized, often disguised as an interrogation aid rather than an assessment device.

Interview Technique: There is no established, national protocol for interviewing children alleging sexual abuse. The practitioner must have an understanding of the use of leading questions, adult social influence, and learning theory in order to assess the quality of an interview.

Video and Audio Taping: When possible video and audio recording of forensic interviews is critical. An understanding of the relevant scientific research coupled with knowledge of relevant case decisions and laws is often critical in convincing investigative agencies to undertake video and / or audio recording.

Physical Evidence: The practitioner must have a good grasp of the medical research and studies that attempt to distinguish between abnormal and normal genital findings in young children.

Immunity and Privileges: Immunity and privilege issues frequently arise when attempting to obtain mental health or psychological materials. The practitioner should be well aware of the conflicts between the rights of the accused and immunity or privilege claims in order to make the best case for overriding such claims in favor of disclosure.

Polygraph Examinations: It is sometimes advantageous for the accused to submit to a polygraph. Making this determination requires understanding of the polygraph process, the reasons for CPS requiring a polygraph, and the true use of the polygraph in abuse cases.

Interrogation: It is sometimes advantageous to allow an interrogation, again, so long as there is an understanding of the process, its uses, and pitfalls. As with the polygraph, such cooperation is unexpected and may be an important determinate in deciding whether or not charges are pursued.

Defending against allegations of child sexual abuse requires a broad range of knowledge and experience in interrelated areas not often encountered by the general practitioner.  Experienced legal representation is critical for a successful defense.

See also: Publications by Zachary Bravos

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600 West Roosevelt Road, Suite B1, Wheaton, Illinois 60187
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