A child abuse charge is an ugly situation whether the accused is guilty or innocent and it has to be handled with special care since the mere accusation has a tendency to outrage the community.
The penalties available to the Jury and the Court for sentencing in these cases are very broad, with the range of punishment for a felony child abuse case being from zero (0) to life in prison.
In larger jurisdictions, the prosecutors that are assigned to these cases usually have specialized training that makes them especially effective and knowledgeable in tactics to shut down ordinarily available defense options. The witnesses generally consist, in part, of children and so the same tactics that might be employed on cross-examination of a police officer will backfire if applied to a child creating even more sympathy for the complaining witnesses in such cases.
Special rules apply to the evidence of a child victim/witness that would not apply to evidence given by an adult witness and the result is that each case involving such witnesses requires an extraordinary degree of caution and patience on the part of defense counsel.