There are several legal distinctions within the category of sex offenses involving children. Generally speaking, child sex assault occurs when an adult engages in sexual contact or exposure with a child younger than 18 years old. This offense is a second-degree felony, and the penalties can include imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indecency with a child is when an offender exposes their genitals or coerces a minor to expose themselves for the purpose of sexual gratification with or without physical contact.
Sexual abuse or contact involves various acts, including engaging in sexual acts that harm a minor’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being or coercing a minor to have sexual contact. In some cases, simply not taking action to protect a child from sexual abuse may be considered permitting or causing the alleged abuse. If the minor is under 14 years old, continuous sexual abuse is prosecuted as a first-degree felony, and the sentence is 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. In addition to prison time, offenders could be fined up to $10,000.
Child molestation elicits such an intense response from others that even being accused of child sexual molestation can leave individuals at risk of physical harm. The social implications alone can destroy reputations, careers, and tear families apart. If convicted, even after serving their sentence, the accused must register as a sex offender for ten years up to the end of their lifetime. They can lose custody of their children and have difficulty finding work, or a home, as many city or county ordinances require that convicted sex offenders stay a certain distance from what they consider to be child safety zones such as a park, school, or daycare facility, among other locations.
If you are accused of a sex offense involving children, it’s a race against the clock to gather evidence for your defense and protect yourself, your reputation, and potentially your freedom. Bias, intolerance, and the prejudice of others can impact the outcome of your case, which is why aggressive legal counsel is required if you are even suspected of child sexual molestation, call (806) 372-5711.