4 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 36: 1 2016]
only after repeated therapy sessions.
29 Despite the absence of previous indicators of sexual abuse,
charges were eventually brought against seven defendants, based on the children’s new
30 Four of the defendants were convicted.
31 The interviewers in Little Rascals Day
Care were later found to have used suggestive questioning, repeated interviewing, and to have
taken inaccurate notes while interviewing the children, leading to the overturning of all three
Limitations on the number of the interviews of child victims are rare in state legislation
and absent in the federal statute. Twelve states33 currently have legislation suggesting
minimization of child interviews but the wording ranges from vague to specific. State statutes
addressing the number of interviews of child victims/witnesses are discussed in Table 2 of the
appendix. Five states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and North Dakota) have vague
statutes, all urging law enforcement and child protective services to minimize the number of
interviews or to discourage interviews that are unnecessary.
34 Hawaii provides the most
explanatory statute, declaring that state agencies “reduce to an absolute minimum the number of
interviews of child sex abuse victims as to minimize re-victimization of the child.”
additional state statutes (Alaska and Utah) do not place specific limitations on the number of
interviews based on age of the victim/witness but list more specific requirements. Utah’s statute
suggests minimizing the number of interviews of child victims or witnesses through the
coordination of interviews and that “persons sensitive to the needs of children” should conduct
36 Alaska prefers one videotaped interview, by a trained professional, at a CAC.
Alaska’s statute provides, “an interview of a child that is audiotaped or videotaped … shall be
conducted ( 1) by a person trained and competent to conduct the interview; ( 2) if available, at a
child advocacy center.”
38 In the event that more than one interview needs to be conducted, which
is not considered ideal, the same individual should conduct any and all additional interviews. 39
Six states require that reasonable limits be placed on the number of interviews for child
victims/witnesses under a certain age: Alabama, under age twelve;
40 Florida, under sixteen;
Hampshire, under age eighteen;
42 Ohio, under age eighteen;
43 and West Virginia, under age
30Id. at 11.
32CECI & BRUCK, supra note 6, at 11.
33Alabama (ALA. CODE § 15-1-2(2015)); Alaska (ALASKA STAT. ANN. §
47. 17.033 (West 2015)); California (CAL.
PENAL CODE § 13517 (West 2015)); Connecticut (CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. §17a-101h (West 2015)); Florida (FLA.
STAT. ANN. § 914.16 (West 2015)); Hawaii (HAW. REV. STAT. ANN. § 588-1 (West 2015)); Minnesota (MINN. STAT.
ANN. §626.561 (West 2015)); New Hampshire (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. §169-C: 38 (2015)); North Dakota (N.D. CENT.
12.1-35-04 (West 2015)); Ohio (OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 2151.421 (West 2015)); Utah (UTAH CODE ANN.
§77-37-4 (West 2015)); and West Virginia (W. VA. CODE § 61-8B- 14 (West 2015)).
34MINN. STAT. ANN. § 626.561 (West 2015); CAL. PENAL CODE § 13517 (West 2015); CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. 17A-
101h (West 2015); HAW. REV. STAT. ANN. § 588-1 (West 2015) MINN. STAT. ANN. §626.561 (West 2015); and N.D.
CENT. CODE ANN. §
12.1-35-04 (West 2015).
35HAW. REV. STAT. ANN. § 588-1 (West 2015).
36UTAH CODE ANN. § 77-37-4 (West 2015).
37ALASKA STAT. ANN. § 47. 17.033 (West 2015).
40ALA. CODE § 15-1-2 (2015).
41FLA. STAT. ANN. § 914.16 (West 2015).
42N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. §169-C: 38 (2015).
43OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 2151.421.