12.14.2011

The Many Roles Of The Private Investigator In Investigating Child Sexual Abuse Allegations - Part XIV

Jerry Sandusky, right, the former Penn State d...
Image by marsmet551 via Flickr


By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Imagine being the private investigator who is assigned to perform the investigation in the defense of Mr. Jerry Sandusky. Imagine being the private investigator who is assigned to perform the investigation of Mr. Kevin Sweat, 25, accused of the slaying of two girls, ages 13 and 15 and his former girlfriend. Continue to imagine that you the private investigator have a clientele of individuals you would never leave your children alone with.

This is the life of some private investigators. Representation of the worst individuals in the world who have committed the most heinous types of crimes.  If you were this investigator how would you remain mentally sane? How would you remain objective and neutral in investigating crimes where people’s lives have been shattered and never will be the same?

The taking of a life of another human being, sexually abusing a child, and just committing other types of crime is the lowest form of individual there is. Everyone should know that these types of crimes aren’t handled properly by the legislatures and ultimately the courts. It is difficult not to believe in the death penalty, but would it make a difference if the theme of an ‘eye for an eye’ was applied? I think not.

The private investigator must stand strong for the investigation he/she faces as they begin the investigation. Obtaining all of the information they can collect should be the initial start of the investigation. The investigator needs to see what the big picture looks like. The investigator needs to decide who will assist them with this major crime. The many resources the investigator will need may make the difference how the investigation is conducted and the findings may determine the truth about what may have happened.

The approach in determining what took place the date of the alleged crime occurred is one of the goals of the investigation. If the investigation is about a child sexual abuse case there are many child sexual abuse experts who can talk about segments of the alleged crime. Let us examine and evaluate the types of areas a child sexual abuse expert can assist the private investigator in and what information the investigator will be trying to obtain:  
     1.      Obtaining the entire law enforcement investigation.
     2.      Which law enforcement official responded to the alleged incident?
    3.      What roles and responsibilities did the initial responder accept upon arrival at the alleged crime scene?
     4.      Who did the initial responder contact upon arrival at the alleged crime scene?
   5.      Did the initial responder follow the law enforcement agencies crime scene protocols and procedures? These protocols and procedures would be protecting the crime scene from contamination to determining if there are any individuals at the crime which may have been injured. Calling the aid unit to respond to the crime scene.
    6.      The investigator will want to determine when the crime scene technicians were called to the alleged crime scene; who these individuals were and what role did each of them play while at the alleged crime scene? Further, what biological, trace and physical evidence was located at the crime scene and who took the evidence to the State Laboratory?
    7.      The investigator will want to determine who called the law enforcement investigator to come to the alleged crime scene? Who these investigators were and what roles and responsibilities did they accept and perform at the crime scene.
    8.      The investigator will want to ascertain what else the law enforcement agencies did at the crime scene, who did what and what did they do with their roles and responsibilities?
    9.      The investigator would then retain a law enforcement crime scene expert to ascertain what happened at the crime scene, the proper or improper investigative steps the law enforcement personnel performed at the crime scene.
   10.  The investigator would then retain a law enforcement child interviewer to ascertain what happened to the alleged child victim? What happened to the alleged child victim from the initial report of the alleged crime to the police, through all the interviews which were conducted by the law enforcement child interviewers, to the preparing of the alleged child victim for court
  11.  The investigator would then retain a medical personnel professional who specializes in performing child sexual medical examinations.
   12.  The investigator would then retain a professional laboratory who could review the biological, trace and physical evidence obtained by the police.
  13.  The investigator would probably retain a forensic child sexual abuse investigator who specializes in investigating child sexual abuse cases; interviewing of witnesses and performing the interview of the alleged child victim, if the State laws allow it.
    14.  The investigator would then put together all of the information gathered from the child sexual abuse experts and the investigation to date. The investigator would then organize these professional opinions in such a way that the client would be able to review the material and make a determination what possibly occurred between the alleged child victim and sexual offender.
   15.  The investigator would then want to outline a Case Action Plan to take investigative steps which surround the alternative hypothesis developed by all of the professional child sexual abuse experts and pursue these investigative alternative hypotheses.
As documented above an alleged child sexual abuse allegation may turn into the State’s experts versus the Defense’s experts. This may be the most intelligent method and technique which streamline a child sexual abuse allegation. This streamline protocols, procedures and processes may elicit responses from everyone involved in the allegation.
It is possible that the private investigator who acts as a leader as part of his/her role and responsibility in the defense investigation may obtain the necessary education and experience to expand their knowledge on how to properly prepare a case for trail.
Tomorrow, the many roles and responsibilities of the private investigator continue to demonstrate that the investigator must wear many hats in any given investigation. Due to the many hats the investigator wears provides a perception of the child sexual abuse allegations that other professionals in the case will not have access to. The need to understand how the investigator benefits the defense in preparing for a case will become quickly obvious to all those who are involved in the case.



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