When you're accused of a crime such as child sexual abuse, it's imperative that you take steps to protect yourself. This allegation against you, even if it's proven to be false, can affect all aspects of your life from your social interactions to your ability to continue going to work.
One of the things you could do if you are guilty of a crime is to choose to take a plea deal. A plea generally results in a lesser penalty than if you head to trial, which is something your attorney would give you more information on when you receive a plea offer or are submitting your own plea offer.
Take for instance this case. A man in Smyth County chose to spend 10 years in prison for three criminal counts of taking indecent liberties with children. The 28-year-old man had previously been charged with rape, sodomy and aggravated sexual battery against children under 13.
During the case, evidence had been submitted to claim that a grandmother had been told that the victims had been engaging in sexually inappropriate acts with the man against their will. Two of the children involved were between 6 and 8 years old. A plea was offered in this case to prevent the victims from having to appear in court. Three of the original charges were dropped as a result, and three others were amended.
In this situation, the man entered an Alford Plea, which allows him to maintain his innocence while recognizing that there is enough evidence to be proven guilty. He will still need to register as a sex offender.
Source: SWVA Today, "Court accepts plea in Smyth County child sexual abuse case," Jasmine Dent Franks, Dec. 07, 2016