In recent days, a 31-year-old Sanger resident was convicted of several sex crimes involving a 10-year-old girl. His sentencing is forthcoming but he faces the possibility of many years in prison. Individuals charged with sex crimes, especially those involving children, are often the greatest test to our protection of the Constitution.

The Fresno Bee Story on the case suggests that the convicted man "avoided prosecution for a year by fleeing to Mexico." While this may be true, the story does not allow for the possibility that the man may have traveled to Mexico without any intention of "fleeing" under duress. The word choice indicates that  the media, and public opinion, may have convicted this man before he ever went to trial. This is just a simple example of what often happens to people accused of sex crimes: their every action is presumed to be predatory or menacing.

Sex crimes against children are unquestionably disturbing. However, emotional reactions often turn suspects into pariahs. Everyone accused of a crime, yes everyone, is presumed not guilty until proven otherwise. Sex crime accusations, unfortunately, can undercut this foundation of the criminal justice system and compromise one of the most precious tenants of the Constitution. Anyone accused of a sex crime should seek out the most aggressive and unrelenting proponent of the Constitution for their defense.