Sex Crimes

Sexting Message Texas

“Attempted Sexting” Lands 24 Year-Old on Sex Offender Registry

By | Sex Crimes

Attempted Transfer of Explicit Video of Self to a Minor (Sexting) Amounts to a ‘Sexual Act’ Resulting in Registration on the Sex Offender Registry

Sexting Message TexasUnited States v. Schofield – (5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2015)

Should a person be ordered to register as a sex offender for sending explicit video to a minor (sexting), but never physically touching the victim? The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals says yes.

In November 2013, twenty-four year old Nick Schofield began sending text messages to a fifteen-year-old girl. They sent text messages for four months, when an undercover federal agent assumed the girl’s side of the conversation. Believing he was still communicating with the girl, Schofield sent the undercover agent sexually explicit photos and videos of himself. A grand jury indicted Schofield on one count of transfer of obscene material to a minor and four counts of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1470. In his plea agreement, Schofield pleaded guilty to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, and the other counts were dismissed at sentencing.

The district court sentenced Schofield to two years imprisonment and ordered him to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”). The purpose of SORNA is to establish a national sex offender registry, “to protect the public from sex offenders and offenders against children.” 42 U.S.C. § 16901. Under SORNA, a convicted sex offender must register his current address and employer’s address.

At trial, Schofield objected to the registration requirement of his sentencing. Schofield appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, contending (1) that the crime of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor was not a sex act under SORNA and (2) that the statutory definition of a sex offense as a “criminal offense against a minor” was an unconstitutionally vague, all-encompassing residual clause.

First, the Court stated the purpose of SORNA is to “cast a wide net to ensnare as many child offenders as possible.” United States v Dodge, 597 F.3d 1347. The wide net was meant to apply to as many offenses against children that make sense according to the plain language and plain meaning of the statute. The Court also quoted an Eleventh Circuit case dealing with similar facts and charges. The Eleventh Circuit held that the 18 U.S.C. § 1470 intended “[not] to exclude certain offenses but rather to expand the scope of offenses that meet the statutory criteria.” Id. In short, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the crime of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, was in fact, a sex act under SORNA’s plain language, structure, legislative history, and purpose.

Second, the Court found that Schofield’s conduct in sending the explicit video to a fifteen-year-old girl falls within the SORNA residual clause, noting, “the key is conduct that contains a sexual component toward a minor.” Because Schofield’s conduct “engaged with” a young girl in a sexual manner, the Court held that his conduct includes a sexual component toward a minor, falling under SORNA’s residual clause. The Court reiterated, “Judges do not need a statute to spell out every instance of conduct that is a sexual offense against a minor.” Id.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the language of SORNA’s residual clause was intentionally vague, with the purpose of including as many criminal offenses as possible. Even though the Defendant did not have physical contact with the girl, he was deemed by the Court to have behaved in a sexual manner, which amounted to a sexual act requiring registry on the sex offender registry. If you or a loved one is facing a sexual or computer crimes charge in Tarrant County, Texas, please call our experienced criminal defense attorneys today at (817) 993-9249.

Fort Worth Child Abuse Attorneys

Outcry Witness Statements Upheld by Fort Worth Court

By | Sex Crimes

Hearsay Statements Admitted in Child Sexual Assault Trial. Affirmed on Appeal by Fort Worth Court.

Fort Worth Child Abuse AttorneysGonzales v. State – 2nd Court of Appeals (Fort Worth) 2015

Pablo Gonzales, Jr. was convicted on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and three counts of indecency with a child. He was sentenced to life in prison by the jury for the sexual assault case and twenty years imprisonment in each of the indecency cases.

The defendant lived in a house where drug use was rampant and people would come in, often leaving their children for him to watch.  One of the witnesses against him, given the pseudonym T.P., was the mother of two of the girls that claimed to be sexually abused by defendant. Generally, hearsay testimony, testimony from one person about what another person says, cannot be admitted into evidence against a defendant. Here, the trial court applied an exception to the hearsay rule for an “outcry witness.” An outcry witness is the first person a child tells about abuse that the child received and this testimony by the outcry witness can be admitted.

The defendant in this case argued that the outcry witness testimony should not be allowed into court because T.P. admitted that her memory was fuzzy as a result of her drug use. Defendant also argued that T.P.’s testimony satisfied few, if any, of the nonexclusive factors the court considers in determining the reliability of an outcry.

When Can an Outcry Witness Statement by Admitted Over Defense Objection?

Article 38.072 of the code of criminal procedure provides a mechanism that requires the trial court to determine on a case-by-case basis if outcry witness testimony reaches the level of reliability required to be admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule.

Indicia of reliability that the trial court may consider [under article 38.072] include (1) whether the child victim testifies at trial and admits making the out-of-court statement, (2) whether the child understands the need to tell the truth and has the ability to observe, recollect, and narrate, (3) whether other evidence corroborates the statement, (4) whether the child made the statement spontaneously in his own terminology or whether evidence exists of prior prompting or manipulation by adults, (5) whether the child’s statement is clear and unambiguous and rises to the needed level of certainty, (6) whether the statement is consistent with other evidence, (7) whether the statement describes an event that a child of the victim’s age could not be expected to fabricate, (8) whether the child behaves abnormally after the contact, (9) whether the child has a motive to fabricate the statement, (10) whether the child expects punishment because of reporting the conduct, and (11) whether the accused had the opportunity to commit the offense.

The defendant claimed that the outcry lacked reliability, specifically because of T.P.’s drug use and generally because it was short, lacked detail, and was uncorroborated. The 2nd Court of Appeals (Fort Worth) agreed that the statement was short, but pointed out that it was also very clear, specific, and unequivocal. A trial court’s decision to admit evidence will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear abuse of discretion. A trial court has only abused its discretion if its decision falls outside the zone of reasonable disagreement.

The 2nd Court of Appeals went on explain that even if they concluded that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the testimony, such error would not rise to the level of constitutional error and should only be reversed if the error affected the Defendant’s substantial rights. The Court noted the victim testified at trial, and her testimony both corroborated T.P.’s testimony regarding the outcry and provided greater detail.  For this reason, the Court held that even if the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the outcry witness testimony, the error would be harmless.

Even if someone admits to their memory not being completely accurate due to prominent drug use, their outcry testimony can still be brought into court if the person who made the statements to them originally, corroborates them. This may make it extremely hard to overturn a conviction with the Court of Appeals because even if outcry testimony may be weak or lacks reliability, the Court will likely not overrule the case so long as others corroborate the testimony. This may also make it extremely hard to keep out any outcry statements.

Coaching child victim

Coaching a Child Victim

By | Sex Crimes

Coaching child victimTexas courts have routinely held that an expert witness, such as a child psychologist, may not offer an opinion about the truth of a certain child victim’s specific allegations or about the truth of child victim allegations in general. But they haven’t shut that door completely.

A couple of weeks ago, the 7th District Court of Appeals (Amarillo) reaffirmed the legal principle that:

Expert testimony that a child did not exhibit indications of coaching or manipulation [does] not to constitute an opinion on the child’s truthfulness.

In Cantu v. State, one of the defense theories was that the child victim had been coached by her mother to make false allegations against Appellant. To counter this theory, the State brought an experienced child interviewer from the Advocacy Center to testify that in her expert opinion, the child victim in this case did not exhibit any “red flags” that would indicate that she had been coached or manipulated. The State was careful not to elicit testimony that the victim was being truthful and thus, the conviction was affirmed on appeal.

To me, this is still an area ripe for objections at trial and a special inclusion in the jury charge. You may get a judge that will exclude it. Okay, probably not, but it’s worth a shot. While most lawyers can see the technical difference between an opinion on truthfulness and an opinion on coaching, many jurors will not.

Jessica’s Law: Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child

By | Sex Crimes

A Review of Jessica’s Law in Texas | Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys

The 80th Texas legislature enacted the “Jessica Lunsford Act” (H.B. 8) to create a criminal offense of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child (Texas Penal Code 21.02).  The chart below details the particulars of the offense of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child under Section 21.02.

The elements of Jessica’s Law:

  • The sexual abuse may be committed against 1 or more victims. (Texas Penal Code 21.02 (b)(1))
  • The complaining witness must be a child younger than the age of 14. (Texas Penal Code 21.02(b)(2))
  • This offense does not apply to juvenile offenders. (Texas Penal Code 21.02(b)(2))
  • A jury is not required to agree unanimously on which specific acts of sexual abuse the defendant committed or the exact date when those acts were committed. (Texas Penal Code 21.02(d))
  • The jury must agree unanimously that the defendant committed 2 or more acts of sexual abuse during a duration of 30 days or more. (Texas Penal Code 21.02(d))
  • An affirmative defense does exist for the offense. If the defendant was not more than 5 years older than the complaining witness; did not use duress, force, or threat; and was not a registered sex offender, then the defendant may raise these points as an affirmative defense. (Texas Penal Code 21.02(g))


  • For a first time offense, regardless of prior criminal history, the range of punishment is 25 to 99 years or life in prison. (Texas Penal Code 22.02(h))
  • Any subsequent offense will result in life in prison without parole (Texas Penal Code 12.42(c)(4))
  • Even for a first time offense, there is no deferred adjudication community supervision (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 5(d) (3)), no judge-ordered community supervision (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 3(e)(1)), or no jury-recommended community supervision (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 4(d)(1)).
  • Essentially, probation in any form or fashion is not an option under Jessica’s Law.
  • Additionally, a defendant convicted under this law has no eligibility for parole. (Texas Government Code Section 508.145 (a)).

Aside from a capital murder charge, the offense of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child is now considered the highest level of offense a person in Texas can be charged with. We’ve had several years to watch juries handle these types of cases and we’ve seen that juries tend to punish severely when presented with continuous sexual abuse of a child.

If you or a loved one is facing a serious criminal charge in Tarrant County, Texas, please call our experienced criminal defense attorneys today at (817) 993-9249. We offer free consultations.

Fort Worth Texas Sexual Assault Attorneys

Politically-Incorrect Dissent on Sexual Assault in the Military

By | Sex Crimes

Fort Worth Texas Sexual Assault AttorneysThis opinion reflects the personal views of the author and should not be attributed to any agency or office.

There has been a lot of media attention recently on rape victims and the prevalence of rape in the military.  As some of the individuals retell their stories, it is clear to see that they suffered from a traumatic experience.  However, being in the military myself, and a former military prosecutor no less, I do not share the opinion that there is an “epidemic” in our ranks.  Does sexual assault occur in the military?  Absolutely.  But does it occur at a rate any higher than what you might find on an average college campus or in the public writ large?  No.  And when sexual assault allegations arise, are commanders sweeping them under the proverbial rug?  Certainly not!

One of the major differences in the military justice system versus the state criminal justice system, is that the District Attorneys in the states can evaluate the allegations, and if they decide that the case lacks prosecutorial merit, they can refuse to present the case to a grand jury for an indictment.  Another major difference is if the grand jury says there isn’t enough evidence, the District Attorney can’t go forward.  Neither of these checks and balances are found in the military justice system.

Instead, unit commanders (called Convening Authorities – usually Colonels and higher) decide whether a case should proceed to trial.  For felony-level cases like sexual assault, they must first receive a recommendation from a neutral investigator, but the ultimate decision on whether to go forward with a case rests with the commander.

The neutral investigator (called an Article 32 Investigating Officer) hears the evidence that the government has against the defendant and makes a recommendation to the commander.  This sounds fair so far, but when the investigator recommends NOT going forward on a sexual assault case because of deficiencies in the evidence, all too often the commander is faced with a dilemma: dismiss the charges as recommended or forward the charges to a General Court-Martial.  The easiest decision is to send it forward.

But can you blame them?  What are the commanders supposed to do when the deafening chorus of politicians and news anchors are calling for more accountability for “rapists” in the military?  Does anyone really expect a commander (typically a rising star in the military) to risk their professional future by refusing to send a rape allegation to trial and face being labeled by the media as “hiding rapists” or being “soft on sexual assault?” No way!  They are going to take the easy way out.  The politically palatable way out.  They are going to kick the can down the road to the prosecutor and let him take the case to trial, warts and all, under the guise of letting “the military justice system runs its course.”

Please do not read this to say that I think all sexual assault allegations in the military have no prosecutorial merit.  Many do.  But can we ever expect the commander to make the hard call to dismiss a case when it lacks merit?  Not any more.  And then when the prosecutors do their very best with a case that would have never gone to trial in a state system, we ask: Why can’t you get the conviction?  The prosecutors may possess the trial skills of Perry Mason or Clarence Darrow, but they can’t change the facts of the case, the rules of evidence, or the burden of proof.  These cases are seldom black and white.  And in a Constitutional system that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, convictions are (and should be) hard to come by.

With all of this going on (our focus on the victims), what is baffling to me, is that we are forgetting about the accused.  What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Congress is asking for more convictions; going so far to change the military sexual assault laws in a shameless effort to secure more convictions, while, the accused is labeled a rapist before even having his day in court.  This is terrible and antithetical to our criminal justice system.  We can’t simply jettison the Constitution when it is politically appealing.

McClatchy put out a pretty good article on this issue last week (LINK).  Of the many the media outlets that have focused on this issue, they are the only one, in my opinion, that has its priorities straight.  Sometimes justice means that a person is convicted of sexual assault.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  But this prejudgment of military defendants (or any defendants) has to stop.  By law, an accused is innocent until a verdict of guilty is returned and no sooner.

Leonard v. State

CCA Reverses Course on Polygraph Admissibility

By | Sex Crimes

Leonard v. StateAlthough polygraph tests are used from time to time in criminal justice matters, they have always been inadmissible at court because they are inherently unreliable.

HERE, Sarah Roland, a Denton County Criminal Defense Attorney, informs us about a troubling opinion from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  A turning of the tide, if you will.  In Leonard v. State, the CCA overturned the 11th Court of Appeals (Eastland) and held that a polygraph test was admissible during a probation revocation adjudication against a person that was serving probation for a sex offense.

Because adjudication hearings are administrative proceedings, in which there is no jury and the judge is not determining guilt of the original offense, we hold that the results of polygraph exams are admissible in revocation hearings if such evidence qualifies as the basis for an expert opinion under Texas Rules of Evidence 703 and 705(a).

While the CCA is not saying that polygraphs will be admissible in an actual criminal trial, this “opinion is troubling,” as Sarah puts it.  I agree.

Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys Fort Worth

The Importance of Reading Statutes in Context

By | Sex Crimes

Texas Stacking Sentences in Sexual Offenses

Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys Fort WorthNguyen v. State.

Section 3.03(b)(2)(B) of the Texas Penal Code authorizes consecutive sentences when the State convicts a defendant of multiple sex crimes arising from the same criminal episode. An interesting situation occurred when Appellant was charged in two separate indictments with aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault of two of his daughters. While the initial charges fell under Section 3.03(b)(2)(B), Appellant pled guilty to two counts of injury to a child (not a sex offense). He received a five year deferred adjudication sentence. Five months after he was placed on community supervision, the State filed a motion to revoke based on a violation of the “no contact” condition. The Judge revoked Appellant’s community supervision and sentenced him to 10 years confinement in each of the two cases, to run consecutively. Appellant appealed the sentence, arguing that Section 3.03(b)(2)(B), authorizing consecutive sentences in sex crimes cases, did not apply to his convictions because he had not been “formally” convicted of a sex offense.

The primary language at issue in the case was the portion of Section 3.03(b)(2)(B) that stated:

“(B) for which a plea agreement was reached in a case in which the accused was charged with more than one offense.”

The State argues that this provision, by its plain language, permits the trial judge to impose consecutive sentences for multiple nonsexual offenses if the defendant was originally charged with qualifying sexual offenses. Appellant argued that because 3.03 (b)(2)(A) excludes any nonsexual offense, the legislature never intended to authorize consecutive sentences for nonsexual offenses.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that the statutory language of Section 3.03(b)(2)(B) was ambiguous as to the specific issue brought up by Appellant’s case. Finding that the language of the statute was ambiguous, the Court looked to the legislative intent behind passing Section 3.03(b)(2)(B). The Court explained that,

the history shows that the legislature enacted this provision to ensure that defendants who, pursuant to a plea bargain, are placed on deferred adjudication for certain sex offenses are subject to the same requirements, disabilities, and punishments that had previously been applied only to those formally ‘convicted’ of a sex offense.

This case showed the willingness of the CCA to read a statute as a whole and to look to the legislative intent of the entire section vice a small portion. In the law, as in politics and elsewhere, a sentence or two taken out of context can be a dangerous thing.

The “charged with” language could have been easily misconstrued by isolating only subsection (B) and reading it apart from the rest of Section 3.03. It can also be misconstrued to not only read it in isolation, but to ignore the legislative intent behind the statute in the first place. Like anything, small snippets of statutes can be isolated and taken out of context. The State tried to capitalize on another poorly worded statute but the CCA looked past that argument to determine the meaning of 3.03 as a whole.

Finding that Section 3.03(b)(2)(B) refers only to plea bargain agreements resulting in convictions for child sex offenses, the CCA agreed with the Court of Appeal’s decision to modify the trial court’s judgment and ordered Appellant’s sentences on his two convictions for injury to a child to run concurrently.

Defense to sexual assault

CCA Holds: Medical Care Defense Not Limited to Medical Personnel

By | Sex Crimes

Defense to sexual assaultTexas Penal Code Section 22.021(a) provides that a person commits aggravated sexual assault if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration “by any means” of the anus or sexual organ of a child younger than 14 years of age. Section 22.021(d) provides that “it is a defense to prosecution…that the conduct [constituting the offense] consisted of medical care for the child and did not include any contact between the anus or sexual organ of the child and mouth, anus, or sexual organ of the actor[.]

During the trial of Walter Cornet, for the alleged aggravated sexual assault of his eight year-old step-daughter, the defendant sought to use the medical care defense. The defendant alleged that after his step-daughter complained to him that her older brothers had had sex with her, he, acting as a parent, conducted an examination of her genitals (anus and labia) using his fingers. The trial court refused to instruct the jury on the medical care defense. The defendant was convicted.

On appeal to the 8th District Court of Appeals (El Paso), the Court affirmed the conviction and held that:

the [medical care] defense “is not meant to apply…in cases…when the parent suspects his child has been sexually abused and proceeds, without any medical education, training, or experience, to examine the area.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals accepted appellant’s petition for discretionary review to settle the issue. Can a parent, untrained in the medical field, claim the medical care defense, under Section 22.021(d) of the Texas Penal Code? The CCA said YES and overturned the 8th Court’s decision.

Writing for a 5-4 majority (on this issue only), Judge Price explained in Cornet v. State:

The text of the statute makes it abundantly clear that it is the nature of the “conduct,” not the occupation of the actor, that characterized the availability of the defense. Nowhere in [Section 22.021(d)] is there any mention or suggestion that the availability of the defense is limited to health-care professionals; and for this Court of read such a restriction into the defense would impermissibly “add or detract from [the] statute.”

The CCA remanded the case to the lower court to conduct a harm analysis.

Judge Cochran dissented. She states that “[w]hen asserting a ‘medical care’ defense, the defendant bears the burden of offering some evidence that his conduct was, in fact, a legitimate, accepted medical methodology.” She goes on to note that:

[i]f this [procedure performed by appellant] meets any common-sense description of accepted or acceptable medical care, the children of Texas are in big trouble. Never mind that there was not a scintilla of evidence that appellant had any medical training, medical expertise, or that this “home exam” methodology was accepted by any medical provider anywhere as an acceptable one. There is no legal defense to sexual assault for a step-father, fried, priest, or big brother to “check-out” the situation by penetrating the anus and genitals of a child because that child had told him that she had had sex with anyone.

Judge Cochran believes that appellant’s defense fails as a matter of law.

Outcry Witness Statement

Closing the Loophole on Outcry Witness

By | Sex Crimes

The Right to Confrontation and the Outcry Witness

Outcry Witness StatementSanchez v. State – Recently released and designated for publication, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals considered the admissibility of outcry statements by alleged child sexual assault victims.

In this case, appellant was charged with sexually abusing his step-daughter. The step-daughter had made an outcry statement to a witness who ultimately became unavailable. The outcry witness was available at a pretrial hearing and testified as to the extent of the outcry and as to the statement made to her. At trial, after the State discovered that the outcry witness was unavailable to testify, the prosecutors moved the court to read the testimony that was taken during the pre-trial hearing to the jury. Over defense objections, the trial court allowed the testimony to be read to the jury. Appellant was convicted on multiple counts of sexual assault, and received concurrent sentences of 28, 15, 7, 5, and 5 years for his convictions.

The defense’s primary objection at trial was that by allowing the prior testimony to be read to the jury, the court violated Sanchez’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation.

Article 38.072 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows a victim’s out-of-court statement made to an outcry witness to be read into evidence so long as that statement is a description of the offense and is offered into evidence by the first adult the complainant told of the offense. The problem with the case against appellant was that, while the hearsay of the victim’s statement to the outcry witness would have been admissible under 38.072 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, reading the testimony of the unavailable outcry witness to the jury at trial was hearsay within hearsay. The Court noted that “in order to introduce testimonial hearsay over a Sixth Amendment objection, the State must show that the declarant who made the out-of-court statement is unavailable, and that the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine that declarant.”

The Court boiled the case down even further by concluding that the ultimate issue in this case was whether appellant had an adequate opportunity to cross-examine the outcry witness at the Article 38.072 hearing. The Court stated that the only relevant question at an Article 38.072 hearing is whether, based on time, content, and circumstances of the outcry, the outcry is reliable. Because an Article 38.072 hearing does not provide an adequate opportunity to cross-examine an outcry witness’s credibility, the Court held that admitting the testimony from the pre-trial hearing to be read to the jury violated appellant’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation. The court reversed the case and remanded it to the Court of Appeals for an analysis of harm caused by the unconstitutional admission of the outcry witnesses’ pre-trial testimony.

With this holding, the CCA sent a message to the State that it won’t be allowed to “backdoor” hearsay if the outcry witness becomes unavailable at trial.

Child Sexual Assault Grooming Texas

CCA Recognizes “Grooming” as a Legitimate Subject of Expert Testimony

By | Sex Crimes

Child Sexual Assault Grooming TexasToday, in Morris v. State, a 6-3 opinion authored by Presiding Judge Keller, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held (by taking judicial notice) that “‘grooming’ of children for sexual molestation is a legitimate subject of expert testimony.”  The opinion, which reads like a law review article at times, goes into great detail about the state and federal courts that have long recognized “grooming” as an appropriate (and helpful) area for expert testimony. (If you don’t know what “grooming” is, HERE is the Wikipedia definition.)

Judge Price’s Dissent is highly critical:

After doing the vast bulk of the research for the State, the Court now essentially holds (despite the absence of any actual litigation on the subject below) that case law from other jurisdictions demonstrates that grooming is such a well-established psychological concept that the State, as proponent of the grooming-based testimony here, need not have been required to prove it at all.

Believing the trial record too bare for the Court to take judicial notice of the reliability of grooming-based testimony, Judge Price dissents.  Judges Meyers and Womack joined the dissent.

Judge Meyers also dissented, stating:

Irrespective of whether the study of “grooming” behavior is a legitimate field of expertise, I do not think [the expert in this case] was qualified to be an expert on this issue. He had no degree in any field of study involving human behavior, no specialized training in “grooming” behavior, and he did not show that the training and experience he did have enabled him to distinguish such behavior.

Judges Womack and Price joined the dissent.

Judge Cochran concurred in the judgment and would hold that grooming is an experiential field rather than a “soft science”:

This is not rocket science. It does not depend upon any scientific, technical, or psychological principles or methodology. This type of testimony does not depend upon educational expertise, any calculable rate of error, learned treatises, peer review, or any other esoteric skill. This is not even “soft science.” It is just “horse sense” expertise developed over many years of personal experience and observation.

While they all seem to agree that “grooming” is an appropriate area for expert testimony, the lingering question (at least for me) is – What does it take to qualify someone to be an expert witness on child grooming?  A question for a later day I suppose.