Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Michael Boley's 'Secret' Child Abuse Arrest Ends in Plea Deal

Ex-New York Giants linebacker Michael Boley was reportedly arrested for child abuse back in February -- three days after he was cut by the team.

Don't worry, you're not the only one who didn't know about this so-called "secret" child-abuse arrest, which happened on the DL. Boley was arrested for physically (not sexually) abusing his 5-year-old son, reports TMZ.

But Michael Boley's no-longer-secret child abuse case isn't going to trial, as the ex-NFL star has apparently struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

Boley pleaded guilty to the child abuse charge, according to TMZ. In exchange, he has to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program. Once he successfully finishes the program, the child abuse charge will be dropped.

Diversion programs have the goal to counsel rather than punish. For child abuse, the goal is to educate the alleged abuser. Most programs limit participation to people with no prior convictions for the same charge; in Boley's case, he has no prior convictions for child abuse.

Boley has, however, had run-ins with the law before. Back in 2008, he was arrested on domestic violence charges in Georgia, for allegedly beating his wife. The prosecutor didn't end up pursuing the case, but Boley was still suspended for the first game of 2009 -- his first as a Giant -- for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, reports the New York Daily News.

Some might wonder how the high-profile NFL star got arrested in the first place. Boley did have to turn himself in, after all. That suggests someone who suspected the abuse likely reported it.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually have to be completely sure there's child abuse going on in order to report it. You just need to have a good faith belief that it's happening -- it's the police and prosecutor's jobs to get to the bottom of it.

It's not uncommon for famous people to be falsely accused of crimes. But the criminal justice system has their backs, too. There are a range of potential defenses to child abuse charges.

The moral of the story: Even if it involves an NFL linebacker, if you genuinely suspect child abuse, report it.

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