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Florida Child Molestation Laws

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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

Florida Annotated Statutes § 39.201 sets forth a list of professionals required to report instances of child abuse and neglect (including sexual abuse) to authorities. These professionals include medical care and mental health professionals, teachers and school officials, social workers, day care workers, foster care workers, law enforcement officers and judges, and “practitioners who rely solely on spiritual means for healing.”

Any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is the victim of childhood sexual abuse or the victim of a known or suspected juvenile sexual offender is also required to make a report.

Reports must be made immediately. Failure to report is a misdemeanor.

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Florida Ann. Stat. § 39.01 provides that “sexual abuse of a child” means one or more of the following acts:

  • Any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anal opening of one person by the penis of another person, whether or not there is the emission of semen
  • Any sexual contact between the genitals or anal opening of one person and the mouth or tongue of another person
  • Any intrusion by one person into the genitals or anal opening of another person, including the use of any object for this purpose, not including any act intended for a valid medical purpose
  • The intentional touching of the genitals or intimate parts, including the breasts, genital area, groin, inner thighs, and buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of either the child or the perpetrator, not including:
    • An act that may reasonably be construed to be a normal caregiver responsibility or any interaction with or affection for a child
    • An act intended for a valid medical purpose
  • The intentional masturbation of the perpetrator’s genitals in the presence of a child
  • The intentional exposure of the perpetrator’s genitals in the presence of a child, or any other sexual act intentionally perpetrated in the presence of a child, if such exposure or sexual act is for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, aggression, degradation, or other similar purpose
  • The sexual exploitation of a child, including allowing, encouraging, or forcing a child to solicit for or engage in prostitution or engage in a sexual performance

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