What Constitutes A Sexual Offense?

Experienced Sex Crimes Lawyers Here In West Chester, Pennsylvania

Many kinds of actions can lead to a sex charge, including prostitution and computer pornography, but the most common charges involve improper or unwanted sexual conduct by one person against another. Under this broad category are many specific offenses:

Rape: Unwanted sexual intercourse involving force or threat of force. All rape charges are first-degree felonies. It can be vaginal, anal or oral sex or involve penetration by objects. Nonvaginal penetration is called involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI). Rape charges can be filed when victims are unconscious, drugged or mentally ill. Intercourse with children 12 or younger carries additional penalties.

Sexual assault: The charge of sexual assault covers any sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse that occurs without the victim's consent that is not covered by rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony.

Aggravated indecent assault: Aggravated indecent assault charges mean that a person is accused of, under the same conditions as rape, penetrating or causing the penetration of a person's genitals or anus by a part of the body for any reason other than medical, hygienic or law enforcement purposes. The charges are a second-degree felony, unless the victim is younger than 13, in which case it is a first-degree felony.

Indecent assault: Indecent assault charges can occur if the accused allegedly caused the victim to come into contact with seminal fluid (like semen), urine or feces without the victim's consent or if the victim was too young to give consent, and the purpose was to satisfy sexual desires.

Indecent assault is a second-degree misdemeanor if the contact was simply nonconsensual or if the victim was younger than 16 and the accused is more than four years older. It is a first-degree misdemeanor if the contact was forcible or by threat of force, if the victim was unconscious, drugged, mentally disabled or otherwise unable to give consent, or if the victim was younger than 13.

If the victim was younger than 13 and the prosecution can establish a course of conduct of indecent assault, that it was a second or subsequent offense, or that certain other conditions apply, it may be a third-degree felony.

Sexual intercourse with a child 12 or younger can be charged as rape of a child. If the child was injured, the charge could be rape of a child with serious bodily injury. The accused's criminal defense attorney must prove with a preponderance of evidence that the defendant reasonably believed the child was 13 or older.

Indecent Exposure: Indecent exposure means to expose one's genitals in a public place or any place where others are present in a way that is likely to offend, affront or alarm. Indecent exposure is generally a second degree misdemeanor. However, if the prosecutor can prove that the accused knew or should have known that children younger than 16 were present, then it is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

If you are facing any of the charges listed below, have questions about an alleged sex crime or have been falsely accused of criminal sexual conduct, we offer a free consultation. Call our office today 610-314-7066 or email our law firm to schedule an appointment.

We are here to protect the rights, reputation and future of individuals accused of, arrested for or charged with a sex crime throughout the state.

First-Degree Forcible Rape

A defendant is guilty of 1st degree rape if he/she forces or acts against the will of another person to engage in vaginal intercourse, and:

  1. uses or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an item that the victim could reasonably believe to be a dangerous or deadly weapon, to aid in the commission of the act; or
  2. inflicts serious bodily injury on the victim or another person, while committing the act; or
  3. the offense is committed with the assistance by at least one other person.

Second-Degree Forcible Rape

A person is guilty of 2nd degree rape if the person engages in vaginal intercourse with a victim:

  1. by using force and by acting against the will of the victim; or
  2. who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, and the defendant performing the act knows or reasonably should have known the victim is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

First-Degree Statutory Rape

A defendant is guilty of 1st degree statutory rape if the defendant engages in vaginal intercourse:

  1. with a victim under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and at least four years older than the victim.

Statutory Rape of a Person Who Is 13, 14, or 15 Years Old by a Defendant Who Is at Least Six Years Older Than the Victim

A defendant is guilty of the above stated crime if the defendant engages in any sexual act with another person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the defendant is at least six years older than the victim.

The exception is if the defendant is lawfully married to the victim.

Statutory Rape of a Person Who Is 13, 14, or 15 Years Old by a Defendant Who Is More Than Four but Less Than Six Years Older Than the Victim

A defendant is guilty of the above stated crime if the defendant engages in any sexual act with another person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the defendant is more than four but less than six years older than the victim.

The exception is if the defendant is lawfully married to the victim.

First-Degree Forcible Sex Offense

A defendant is guilty of a 1st degree sex offense if the defendant engages in a sexual act:

  1. with a victim under the age of 13 and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or
  2. by use of force and against the will of the victim, and:
    • uses or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an item that the victim could reasonably believe to be a dangerous or deadly weapon, to aid in the commission of the act; or
    • inflicts serious bodily injury on the victim or another person, while committing the act; or
    • the offense is committed with the assistance by at least one other person.

A "sexual act" is defined to include cunnilingus, analingus, fellatio, and anal intercourse but not vaginal intercourse.

Second-Degree Forcible Sex Offense

A defendant is guilty of a 2nd degree sex offense if the defendant engages in a sexual act with a victim:

  1. by using force and by acting against the will of the victim; or
  2. who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, and the defendant performing the act knows or reasonably should have known the victim is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

A "sexual act" is defined to include cunnilingus, analingus, fellatio and anal intercourse, but not vaginal intercourse.

Indecent Liberties With a Child

A defendant is guilty of taking indecent liberties with a child if, being at least 16 years of age and five years older than the child in question, he either:

  1. willfully commits or attempts to commit any immoral, improper, or indecent liberties with any child, male or female, under the age of 16 for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire; or
  2. willfully commits or attempts to commit any lewd or lascivious act upon the body or any part of the body of any child, male or female, under the age of 16.

First-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

A defendant commits the offense of 1st degree sexual exploitation of a minor, if knowing the content of the material or nature of the performance, he:

  1. uses, employs, induces, coerces, encourages, or facilitates a minor to engage in or assist another to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing images that contain a visual representation illustrating such activity; or
  2. permits a minor under his custody or control to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing images that contain a visual representation illustrating such activity; or
  3. transports or pays for the transportation of a minor through or across North Carolina with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing images that contain a visual representation illustrating such activity; or
  4. records, photographs, films, develops or duplicates material that contains a visual representation showing a minor engaged in sexual activity, for the purpose of sale or pecuniary gain.

Mistake of age is not a defense to this offense.

Second-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

A defendant commits the offense of 2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor if he knows of the content of the material in question and:

  1. records, photographs, films, develops, or duplicates material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity; or
  2. distributes or receives in any way, material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity.

Mistake of age is not a defense to this offense.

Kidnapping

Any defendant who unlawfully confines, restrains, or removes from one location to another, any other person 16 years of age or older without the consent of such person, or any other person under the age of 16 years without the consent of a parent of such person, is guilty of kidnapping if the defendant's actions are for the purpose of:

  1. holding the victim for a ransom, as a hostage or using the victim as a shield; or
  2. assisting in the commission of any felony or assisting escape following the commission of a felony; or
  3. inflicting serious bodily harm to or terrorizing the victim or any other person; or
  4. forcing the victim to work against his/her will; or
  5. trafficking another person with the intent that the other person be forced to work or perform sexual services against his/her will; or
  6. subjecting or maintaining such other person for the purpose of forcing them to perform sexual services against their will.

There are two degrees of kidnapping. If the person kidnapped was not released by the defendant in a safe place or had been seriously injured or sexually assaulted, the offense is kidnapping in the first degree. If the person kidnapped was released in a safe place by the defendant and had not been seriously injured or sexually assaulted, the offense is kidnapping in the second degree.