The Crimes against Children Unit (“CAC”) is a specialized unit tasked with handling prosecutions involving child sexual abuse, severe child physical abuse, and child pornography/internet crimes. The unit consists of six Assistant District Attorneys, two Victim Witness Coordinators, one Investigator, and one Legal Secretary.
There is a set criteria that determines which cases CAC will handle. If a case does not meet CAC’s criteria, it will be handled by an Assistant DA assigned to the courtroom where it is docketed. The criteria is as follows:
CAC will always handle:
1) Child homicide;
2) Aggravated child abuse involving serious bodily injury, use of a dangerous instrument, cruel/torture or if it involves methamphetamine;
3) Aggravated child neglect involving serious bodily injury, use of a dangerous instrument, cruel/torture or if it involves methamphetamine;
4) Rape of a child (child is under 13 years old);
5) Aggravated sexual battery (child is under 13 years old);
6) Sexual battery by an authority figure (child is under 18 years old);
7) Statutory rape by an authority figure (child is under 18 years old);
8) Sexual exploitation of a minor (i.e., child pornography);
9) Child abuse (if the child is under 8 years old AND there is actual injury for which medical treatment was sought);
10) Child neglect (if he child is under 8 years old AND there is actual injury for which medical treatment was sought);
11) Sex trafficking of a child (child is under 18 years old); and
12) Statutory rape of a child 14 years old and younger.
CAC will review:
1) Sexual battery of a child 13-18 years old;
3) Rape (child is 13-18 years old);
4) Special request by Detective for Statutory Rape cases of minors 15 years old, and older.
CAC will not handle:
1) Child abuse (minor injuries/no medical treatment necessary);
2) Child neglect (minor injuries/no medical treatment necessary);
3) Statutory rape of minors 15 years old, or older;
The majority of CAC cases come to us through our participation in Child Protective Investigation Team (“CPIT”) meetings. During CPIT meetings, a CAC Assistant DA (“ADA”) decides whether to accept a case for prosecutorial review. If the ADA accepts a case for review, a Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Youth Services Detective will finalize the investigation and submit a case file to the CAC Unit for review. The ADA will then review the case file in its entirety and decide whether to indict the case or decline prosecution. The ADA will then either draft the indictment and submit it to Grand July, or prepare a declination memorandum outlining the reasons that the case cannot be prosecuted. The ADA who indicts the case will handle it through plea or trial.
The other way cases come to CAC is by arrest warrant. If a defendant is arrested on a CAC case, a CAC ADA will appear on the case in General Sessions Court and follow it for its duration.
Our two Victim Witness Coordinators keep victims and their families informed of everything going on with their case from the beginning to the conclusion of the case.
We work closely with the following organizations to ensure the children of Davidson County are protected:
Nashville Children’s Alliance – Helping Children Heal
Metro Nashville Police Department – Youth Services Division
Department of Children’s Services (DCS)
Family Safety Center – Office of Family Safety Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County
Our Kids – Help. Hope Healing.
Goodlettsville Tn Police Department
Vanderbilt Children’s Center for Child Protection and Well Being (CARE Team)