Grooming is the act of preparing a child under the age of 18 for sexual behaviors. Many sex offenders use kindness and authority, such as a job as a tutor, to find victims for their behaviors. If you have a private tutor for your child who seems much too friendly with them, you need to know how to spot this sex crime and what you can do to prosecute it.

Grooming Is A Federal Offense

Currently, grooming a child who is under the age of 18 is considered a federal offense. It can result in an imprisonment of more than 20 years and placement on a sex offender list. It is a crime even if no sexual behaviors occurred because it was an attempt to introduce a child to sexual activities.

Therefore, it is important to know whether or not your tutor is grooming your child. In most circumstances, they are probably just trying to make a little extra money and help out a struggling student; however, some predators may be using their authority to gain access to a child.

Symptoms Of Grooming

While a child's tutor may just be friendly with them, they may also show signs of serious grooming behaviors. They may have reached out to you about tutoring the child, or seem obsessed with them. Often, they may try to gain the child's trust or get alone time with them. Many groomers will react angrily if you try to interrupt their time with their potential victim.

For example, you may notice a groomer getting angry or suspicious of you when you walk into a tutoring session. Beyond that, they may try to create a realm of secrecy around their relationship or try to isolate the child from you. Even worse, they may touch your child (through hugs, pats on the shoulder, or lingering touches) that may escalate to sexual actions. This situation is scary but can be prosecuted properly.

Proving These Behaviors

Often, a child's testimony regarding grooming will prove very powerful in a court setting. Unfortunately, other evidence may need to be provided; this includes showcasing photos or videos of grooming behavior, or testimony from other people who witnessed these behaviors. An overwhelming amount of testimony may help to overcome actual documented evidence.

The frustrating thing about these kinds of sex crimes is that the defendant may try to throw blame at a parent. For example, the tutor may claim that the parent is being paranoid, or simply reacting in a negative way to friendly behaviors. Groomers can often come across as very friendly people and may have others who are willing to testify on their behalf.

If you are worried that your child's tutor is attempting to groom them or may have already committed a sex crime, talk to a criminal attorney right away. These specialists can help you understand your rights, and will prosecute the case as vigorously as possible.